Norfolk, VA – July 14, 2004 – Four Hampton Roads residents received kidneys donated by loved ones on Monday and Tuesday of this week at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Four procedures in two days marked a first for the hospital’s renal transplant program.
"This was no small feat," says Betty Crandall, RN, Director of the Sentara Transplant Center. "Each procedure involves two operating rooms, two surgical teams and four surgeons to retrieve the donated kidney and implant it in the recipient."
But, Crandall says the demand for kidney transplants emphasizes the need for a strong program.
The recipients this week are as follows.
-Paul Moity is a 29 year old Chesapeake resident who received a kidney donated by his wife, and thus avoided the need for kidney dialysis.
-Jawann Blizzard is a 19 year old Suffolk resident who received a kidney from his father.
-Julia Marshall is a 50 year old Portsmouth resident who received a kidney from her daughter after 18 months on dialysis.
-Leah Valentine is a 19 year old Chesapeake resident who received a kidney from her brother. She started dialysis last August.
Living Donors now primary source of kidneys
Of the 42 kidney transplants performed so far this year at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, 74% have been from living donors. That’s up from 53% of the 70 procedures performed last year. The program has been averaging four to five procedures per month in 2004. But because so many more living donors are available, that schedule will increase to six procedures per month starting in August, to help more patients.
Kidney donation more comfortable for donors
The majority of kidney donation procedures are now performed laproscopically, a minimally-invasive procedure that results in a quicker, more comfortable recovery for donors than in years past.
"Living donor transplants are the best option for patients," says John Colonna, M.D., surgical director of the renal transplant program at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. "They tend to result in better outcomes, and not having to wait for a deceased donor can reduce a patient’s waiting time from years to months," Colonna adds. "But you’ve got to have the surgical staff in place to take full advantage of donors’ generosity."
"The number of kidney transplant candidates is growing quickly," says Betty Crandall of Sentara. "We could have as many as 350 patients on our waiting list this year. With so many living donors now available, we’re bolstering our program to meet the demand and minimize the time patients have to wait for transplants," Crandall concludes.