Media attention has been given recently to kidney transplants, bringing to light the need for living kidney donors.
On Twitter we learned about a six-way kidney transplant at Ohio State University Medical Center, while the CBS Morning Show reported on a kidney transplant from social networking. None of the donors or recipients were related. And locally, Houston media have covered the topic.
It’s heartening that more and more people are stepping up to be kidney donors. However, the gap is still wide between those in need and those willing to donate. In 2009, 16,830 transplants were performed in the United States, while 86,071 people were on the waiting list for a new kidney. The age group most in need of transplant is 50 and over, while there is a shortage of kidney donors in the ideal age range of 18-49.
Some 26 million Americans over age 20 suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD), a gradual and usually permanent loss of kidney function. Unchecked, CKD often leads to end stage renal disease (ESRD), in which the kidneys fail and lifesaving options are twofold: dialysis or transplantation.