A regular visitor to the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page (nearly 39,000 likes) commented, "I have been waiting on the Kidney Transplant List for many years. I thought that I was very close to the top of the list and was expecting to be called any day now. However, I still do not have a match. I am so disappointed and depressed. What is the point? I think I am just going to drop off the list."
Many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients become very discouraged, frustrated, disappointed, and depressed as they await a call for a lifesaving deceased (dead) donor from their Kidney Transplant Center. Unfortunately, for many patients, the call does not come according to Renal and Urology News which reported that "90,000 Dialysis patients die every year." Contrary to popular belief, waiting for a transplant is not like taking a number and waiting your turn. In some respects, even the word 'list' is misleading because the list is really a giant pool of patients. Still, a clear understanding of the Kidney Transplant Waiting List and avenues to improve your chances of receiving a kidney transplant may improve a Chronic Kidney Disease patient's hope, determination, and motivation to increase their quality of life.
Matching deceased donor kidneys to the most appropriate recipients is done entirely through a computer matching system. "There is no ranking or patient order until there is a donor because each donor's blood type, size and genetic characteristics are different. Thus, when a donor is entered into the national computer system, the patients that match that donor, and therefore the 'list,' is different each time," noted Organtransplants.org. This means that no patient who is awaiting a deceased donor transplant can know his/her position on the list or how close or far away from being selected he/she may be.
Ultimately, the impartial computer system is intended to protect all individuals on the list by avoiding personal or social characteristics such as celebrity status, income or insurance coverage which currently play absolutely no role in transplant priority. Only medical and logistical factors are used in organ matching. For instance, many patients do not realize that proper kidney size is critical to a successful kidney transplant, which means that children often respond better to child-sized organs. That is why, "although pediatric candidates have their own unique scoring system, children essentially are first in line for other children’s organs," according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. Other key factors associated with Kidney Allocation include the following:
- How long a patient has been waiting for a kidney transplant.
- Whether the individual has had a prior donor.
- Pediatric status.
- Donor/recipient immune system compatibility.
- Distance from donor hospital.
- Survival benefit.
The National Kidney Foundation suggested that "over 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list each month." Sadly, only approximately 1,666 individuals of the over 100,000 Chronic Kidney Disease patients waiting, actually receive kidney transplants each month. Hence, the list is growing and there is an increasing shortage of deceased donor kidneys as well as increasing wait times. The good news is that living kidney donation is also increasing and patients in need are finding success in connecting with altruistic (generous) living kidney donors.
The following are great tips to help patients potentially improve their chances of connecting with kind-hearted kidney donors:
- Talk to your family and friends and ask them to share your need for a kidney with others.
- Post your need for a kidney transplant on your personal Facebook Page or Twitter.
- Launch a Facebook Page.
- Post a website and try to build traffic.
- Announce your need for an altruistic donor on a billboard in a highly populated area.
- Post a flyer about your need for a kidney transplant in a local business or on a bulletin community board.
If you are having difficulty, then click here to sign up for the KidneyBuzz.com Find A Kidney Donor Campaign and our Social Media Team may help actively share your story with others.
How long have you been waiting for a kidney transplant? Do you have any tips on how other patients can improve their chances and maintain their morale while waiting for a kidney? Share your responses with the over 38,900 Friends at the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan page (click here). Moreover, consider following the over 115,000 monthly visitors to KidneyBuzz.com for your Number One (#1) source of Daily News, Information, Impact Meals, Inspirational Quotes, and tailored Products and Services which teach Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Kidney Transplant, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure patients how to better manage and improve their lives.