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Living Kidney Donation

Queen’s Transplant Center
Physicians Office Building 3 (POB 3), Suite 404

550 S. Beretania Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Phone:
808-691-8897

Fax: 
808-691-8896

Clinic Hours: 
Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm

Living Kidney Donor Program

There are three types of kidney donors:

  • Living Blood Relative – may be a parent, sibling, or other person related to the recipient
  • Living, Unrelated Donor – Can be a friend, or could also be a living donor who donates to an anonymous candidate on the national waiting list
  • Deceased Donor – Organs from this type of donor mean the recipient is on the national transplant list

Patients who receive a kidney from a living donor have a much shorter waiting period before receiving their transplant, and generally have the best outcomes.

In Hawaii, more than 300 people are waiting for a transplant…Patients on our waiting list, wait for an average of 3 years for a kidney transplant as compared to 10 years at some mainland centers. Living donors can make a difference and allow a friend or relative to get off of dialysis sooner.

Becoming a Living Organ Donor

Prospective kidney donors are asked to complete a confidential, online health history questionnaire before coming in for an evaluation. Click here to complete the donor questionnaire.

If you are unable to access the questionnaire or want to learn more about living kidney donation, call 808-691-1179 to speak to our living donor coordinator, or fill out the Living Kidney Donor Intake Sheet and fax or mail the form directly to the Queen’s Transplant Center.

Kidney Donor Exchange Program

Hawaii’s Most Advanced Kidney Donor Exchange Program

Kidney paired donation (KPD), or paired exchange, is an option in which a living donor and recipient are not compatible with each other. KPD occurs when a donor exchanges their kidney with the living donor from another incompatible donor/recipient pair to create two compatible pairs. Exchanging with another incompatible pair can allow for two compatible transplants.

It can take anywhere from 1 month to 2 years to find an exchange pair. This depends on the donor/recipient antibody levels, blood type, and number of people in the trade pool database.

How the Kidney Paired Donation Program Works

The Queen’s Transplant Center is participating with the National Kidney Registry. The National Kidney Registry allows a computerized matching system to identify compatible recipient/donor pairs across the nation from multiple transplant centers. This greatly increases the potential donor trade pool which increases the chances that a compatible kidney transplant can occur.

If you do not have a living donor, we encourage you to reach out to family members and friends. Through kidney paired exchange, anyone can be a potential donor for you, even if they are not a blood type match.

If you are interested in learning more about the National Kidney Registry, please call the living donor coordinator at the Queen’s Transplant Center at 808-691-1179

What To Expect

The Queen’s Medical Center Transplant Center’s skilled team performs a kidney removal (nephrectomy) using a minimally invasive laparoscopic technique. This procedure offers less pain, smaller scars, a shorter hospital stay, and faster recovery than with traditional open surgery.

Leaving the hospital after donating a kidney

After the living donor is discharged from the hospital, they will have scheduled follow-up appointments at regular intervals after donation, including:

The donor will meet with the transplant coordinator and their surgeon to monitor their kidney function and blood pressure. Donors will be given (or mailed) a lab order to be completed prior to their scheduled appointment. Lab work includes urinalysis and serum creatinine. These are tests that help determine the function of the donor’s kidney.

The Queen’s Transplant Center is required to submit follow-up information to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years post-donation on all living kidney donors.

It is recommended that donors monitor their blood pressure annually. A desirable blood pressure is less than 120/70. You may need treatment if your blood pressure is greater than 130/80.

Post-Surgical Care for Kidney Donors

Incision Care

Activity

Diet

Financial Considerations

Generally, expenses incurred by living donation are covered by the recipient’s insurance or Medicare. These expenses can include:

  • Costs of the evaluation
  • Transplant surgery
  • Post-operative care

The Transplant Financial Coordinators at the Queen’s Transplant Center work with potential donors to discuss the financial aspects of donation.

Expenses that are not directly related to the organ donation are NOT covered costs. Non-covered costs could include:

  • Annual physicals
  • Travel and lodging
  • Lost wages
  • Other non-medical expenses, including services to follow-up on a health concern that may be identified during the organ donor evaluation process.

Living donors who have their surgery at the QMC are eligible for the following benefits through the National Kidney Registry’s Donor Shield program:

Insurance Coverage After Donation 

Living donation may sometimes have a negative impact on the donor’s ability to obtain, maintain, or afford health, disability, and life insurance. It is important to talk with the Queen’s Transplant Center’s Financial Coordinator and your current insurance provider(s) to find out if being a living donor could impact your insurance coverage.

Resources 

Potential donors, families and recipients can call the Queen’s Transplant Center’s Financial Coordinator to discuss your financial concerns/questions. You may also call the Transplant Social Worker to learn more about the National Living Donor Assistance Program, which may provide financial assistance to those who want to donate an organ. They can be reached at 808-691-8897.

Frequently Asked Questions About Donation

Living kidney donors must be 18 years of age or older and be in very good medical and psychological health. Each potential donor meets with the Queen’s Transplant team to evaluate whether these criteria are met.

Each potential donor meets with a nurse for an initial screening and will complete blood and urine tests, as well as x-ray studies. The potential donor also meets with physicians to make sure there are no medical issues that would prevent donation.

Counseling and education are provided throughout the process, but potential donors have the right to opt out of donation at any time.

Studies suggest that long-term health after donation is not negatively impacted. Kidney donors live just as long, and with the same quality of life as if they had not donated a kidney. The donor’s chance for a long, normal, and healthy life remains the same with one kidney.

Usually, any costs incurred by living donation are covered by the recipient’s insurance, or Medicare. For more information, check out our page on financial considerations.

This is a question we receive frequently, but unfortunately cannot answer. While consulting with your family, physicians, and other trusted advisors can be helpful, the only person who can answer this question is the potential donor themselves.

Living donation is not for everyone, and we recommend doing personal research to determine if it is the correct decision for you. Potential donors may find it helpful to talk with another person who has been a living donor. Donors will also have an opportunity to talk with an independent living donor advocate (ILDA). The ILDA advocates for potential living donors by helping to promote the donor’s best interest.

Common Myths

Please avoid use of the following non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) because they can harm your kidney:

Over the Counter NSAID Medications to Avoid

Generic Name Brand Name
Ibuprofen Advil or Motrin
Naproxen Aleve
Aspirin Excedrin or Bayer
Ketoprofen Orudis KT

Prescription NSAID Medications to Avoid

Generic Name Brand Name
Celecoxib Celebrex
Etodolac Lodine
Indomethacin Indocin
Ketorolac Toradol
Maloxicam Mobic
Nabumetone Relafen
Sulindac Clinoril
Oxaprozin Daypro

After your donor surgery, please tell your primary care physician, as well as other doctors taking care of you, that you are a kidney donor. This will help them avoid prescribing medications that may harm your kidney.

If you are admitted to the hospital in the future, it is important that you let the doctors taking care of you know that you only have one kidney. This way, they can avoid giving you medications that may potentially harmful.

Drugs physicians and other medical professionals should avoid for kidney donors are commonly called “nephrotoxins,” and include:

  • NSAIDS
  • Certain antibiotics
  • Some chemotherapy medications
  • Intravenous contrast dye

If you need more information about your medicine and its use, check with your doctor, transplant nurse, or pharmacist.

When to seek medical attention after organ donation surgery

At the Queen’s Transplant Center, we have a team ready to discuss potential issues. Call and report symptoms early to avoid a trip to the emergency room or a stay in the hospital.

Call the Queen’s Transplant Center if you have any of the following:

  • Increased bleeding at the incision site
  • Unusual redness, oozing, or swelling along the incision
  • Incision is pulling apart
  • Body temperature is greater than 100?F
  • Pain worsens without apparent reason, such as overexertion
  • Increased blood in your urine
  • Chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy
  • Chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time
  • Persistent nausea and vomiting
  • Change in bowel habits, i.e., persistent diarrhea or prolonged constipation

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