IU Health makes Kidney Transplant Possible

IU Health makes Kidney Transplant Possible

Altruistic Donors

Altruistic Donors

Altruistic Donors

Years ago, people who wanted to donate a kidney to a perfect stranger were politely turned away. As technology and expertise progress, these altruistic or “Good Samaritan” donors are now accepted as living kidney donors after full evaluation.

Who can donate?

Living donors must meet the following criteria:

  • Healthy adults at least 18 years old
  • Normal renal function with two kidneys
  • Free of active infections
  • Free of malignancies (history is evaluated individually)
  • No history of diabetes or blood sugar problems
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) must be considered on an individual bases.
  • No active/untreated substance abuse
  • Not severely overweight (<35 BMI)
  • Excellent physical and mental health

What are the risks?

Kidney donation has minimal risks. While all surgeries involve some risks such as bleeding and infection, living with only one kidney poses little danger. Research indicates that kidney donation does not change one’s life expectancy or increase the risk of developing kidney disease or other health problems.

Who pays?

The recipient’s insurance or Medicare pays for all donor medical expenses. Time away from work and travel costs are not covered by insurance and should be considered.

What happens after donation?

After surgery, IU Health Transplant continues to see donor patients for follow-up through recovery. Kidney donation does not require medication or a special diet afterwards. Our living donor clinic allows for long term follow up care by transplant nephrologists (kidney specialists).

How do I start?

Contact our living donor coordinators at 317.944.4370 for more information about being a living kidney donor at IU Health.

Providing More Patients with Opportunity

Providing More Patients With Opportunity

Providing More Patients with Opportunity

About 30 percent of patients waiting for a kidney are sensitized. This means they have a higher level of antibodies in their body, which could have developed from a prior transplant, a blood transfusion or pregnancy. If a kidney transplant is performed on a sensitized patient, their body will likely reject the new organ.

IU Health Transplant has one of only a few steroid-free kidney desensitization programs in the U.S. Desensitization removes these unwanted antibodies from the patient’s bloodstream to prepare for a successful kidney transplant. This process includes plasmapheresis treatments and immunosuppressant medications. Kidney desentization works best for patients with live kidney donors, but is possible for patients without.

Living Kidney Donor Exchange

Living Kidney Donor Exchange

Living Kidney Donor Exchange

IU Health Transplant has an active donor exchange program that pools incompatible recipient/donor pairs to look for possible compatible pairings among them. The pairings could be as simple as a "swap" between two pairs or more complicated so as to maximize the number of recipients that benefit.

Beyond working diligently to find pairings among our own incompatible recipient/donor pairs, IU Health Transplant is involved with large paired exchange programs. The programs pool incompatible pairs from transplant centers across the country thus giving our incompatible recipient/donor pairs more opportunities to find a compatible match. IU Health Transplant participates in matching one incompatible donor/recipient pair to a pair in the same situation. This means the donor of the first pair gives their kidney to the recipient of the second pair and vice versa. Essentially, the pairs swap kidneys.

At IU Health Transplant, we work diligently to match IU Health patients with other IU Health patients. If the transplant can be kept local, donor/recipient pairs can avoid travel for surgery, making it easier on everyone involved. To give our patients the most opportunity for a successful transplant, we also work with the Alliance for Paired Donation (ADP).