A man has spent a year losing 70lbs so he could donate his kidney to his wife.
PJ Spraggins was delighted when he discovered he was a perfect match for wife Tracy, who was told her life-long battle with Lupus would kill her if she didn’t get a transplant. The waiting list is seven years long.
There are many diseases that attack specific organs, landing patients on a transplant list. Unfortunately, our bodies have markers that identify an organ as “self,” which makes it difficult to find an organ match. Many individuals die waiting for an organ transplant because a match can’t be found.
With the financial aid of a biotechnology executive whose daughter may need a lung transplant, U.S. researchers have been shattering records in xenotransplantation, or between-species organ transplants.
The researchers say they have kept a pig heart alive in a baboon for 945 days and also reported the longest-ever kidney swap between these species, lasting 136 days. The experiments used organs from pigs “humanized” with the addition of as many as five human genes, a strategy designed to stop organ rejection.
It’s a race to see which will work and come out on top – this, or scaffolding. Organ donation/harvesting from pigs has been on the radar for decades because our genes are quite similar. But as the article points out, there are important differences that they are working on addressing.
Your native kidneys are in the back – the new kidney is put in the front. The artery and vein on the kidney are usually connected into the main artery and vein in the front right groin (ileacs), and the ureter is patched on the side or top of the bladder. The old/diseased kidney stays usually connected.
See for yourself
Why? Old/diseased kidneys aren’t typically removed because they still work. They can still filter blood, but at maybe up 10-20% of what healthy kidneys can do. A donated kidney can do upwards of 50%, assuming the transplant works perfectly. Then factor in the additional time and resources for surgery to remove the old/diseased kidney(s), which increases the chance that something goes wrong.
That’s not to say this is always the case. Kidneys can increase in size for a variety of reasons, so removal might be necessary to make room. There are also cases where transplanted kidney(s) have failed, but there was no room so removal would have to be done first.
What about the Donor? Could the Empty Space Hold My Valuables?
Have you considered a career as a drug mule?
When you donate a kidney, your existing kidney increases size to compensate for the loss and all your other organs shift to fill the void. On average, the remaining kidney increases to 1.5 times the original size within months of donation.
What’s an Auto Transplant?
Auto transplant is for pain that can’t be fixed, so they basically cut it out to remove all the nerves and then put it back in again. You are your own donor… I’d suggest changing your name to “Ship of Theseus“.