A kidney transplant is one of the most common organ transplants performed today. During the surgical procedure a healthy kidney from a donor is placed into a person whose kidneys no longer function properly. The new, donated kidney can do the work that a persons two kidneys used to do. Kidneys for transplantation can come from two different sources: a living or a deceased donor.
The Living Donor
Family members, including brothers, sisters, parents, children (18 years or older), uncles, aunts, cousins, or a spouse or close friend may wish to donate a kidney. That person is called a “living donor.” The donor must be in excellent health, well informed about transplantation, and able to give informed consent. Any healthy person can donate a kidney safely.
A deceased donor kidney comes from someone who has suffered brain death. The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act allows everyone to consent to organ donation for transplantation at the time of death and allows families to provide such permission as well. After permission for donation is granted, the kidneys are removed and stored until a recipient has been selected.
Transplant Evaluation Process
Regardless of the type of kidney transplant-living or deceased donor-special blood tests are needed to find out what type of blood and tissue is present. These test results help to match a donor kidney to the recipient.
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