Kidney Swaps Are Revolutionizing a Broken Organ-Donation System in the U.S.

2017 ended as a banner year for my family, but things didn’t look great at the start. A death sentence met us in a boxing ring, and we had to school ourselves on fighting to live. I never thought much about the 37 million American adults who suffer from kidney disease until my husband Neil became one of them. Celebrating our first year of marriage in 2001, we learned by accident through an unrelated medical exam that my husband has polycystic kidney disease, an illness which causes the kidneys to fill with cysts over time, rendering the organs unable to function properly. There is no cure. There was nothing to do but wait for my husband’s kidney function to decline below 20%, the point at which either dialysis or a transplant would be considered to prolong life. It would be 16 more years before Neil would enter end-stage renal failure, the final, permanent phase of chronic kidney disease where the organs no longer function, and in early 2017, he joined the waitlist for a transplant, alongside some 100,000 others in the U.S. Those on the waitlist face a three-to-10 year wait for a deceased donor kidney, and the statistics are grim. Kidney disease is the ninth most common cause of death in the U.S., and while Medicare covers the cost of dialysis for kidney failure, it is an exhausting treatment process with low survival rates. America’s kidney shortage kills 43,000 people per year, as those on the waitlist sit hoping for “the call” that an organ h...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized health Healthcare medicine public health Source Type: news

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