Campaign encourages kidney donation; number of transplants dropped during the pandemic

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The Brazilian Society of Urology (SBU) warns that the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the performance of transplants in Brazil. The kidney transplant rate of 22.4 transplants per million people recorded in 2021 was 26% below the pre-pandemic rate. To encourage kidney donation and clarify the procedures, this week the medical entity launched the “SBU for organ donation” campaign.

When the kidneys stop working, the patient must undergo hemodialysis sessions, whose frequency can vary from two to seven times a week, depending on the patient’s case. Each session can last from three to five hours.

According to the SBU, for a better quality of life, kidney transplantation may be indicated in many cases. THE renal insufficiency it can occur due to problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation in the vessels that filter the blood, polycystic kidney disease, autoimmune disease, and urinary tract obstruction, among others.

According to the president of the SBU, Alfredo Canalini, the campaign was created due to the need to make the population aware of organ donation, especially with regard to deceased donors.

“Specifically, we, urologists, know the importance of both the early diagnosis of kidney disease, with the measurement of creatinine in the blood and the urinalysis, as well as meeting the demand of chronic kidney patients on the waiting list for a kidney transplant”, he said.

According to data from the Brazilian Association of Organ Transplantation (ABTO), there was a decrease in the number of organ donations and transplants due to the pandemic. According to ABTO, 15,640 patients joined the waiting list for a kidney in 2021, of which 3,009 died.

“This was mainly due to the increase in the contraindication to transplantation at the time, as the potential for transmission of the virus was not known”, said the coordinator of the Department of Renal Transplantation of the SBU, John Edney dos Santos.

kidney transplant

Kidney transplantation is indicated for patients diagnosed with chronic renal failure, especially those on dialysis.

“In Rio de Janeiro, we have around 13,000 patients on dialysis and 1,500 on the transplant waiting list. In Brazil, there are around 150,000 on dialysis and only 20% of them are in the queue. And, by law, every patient on dialysis has to be informed about the possibility of carrying out the transplant”, said Canalini.

A resident of São Paulo, the self-employed Zelandio dos Santos Araújo, 37, underwent a kidney transplant seven years ago. He has familial segmental and focal glomerulosclerosis, a disease that causes kidney failure.

This syndrome also affected two of Araújo’s sisters. One of them lost kidney function and ended up dying and the other is still on dialysis and is waiting for a kidney transplant.

Araújo says that he started drug treatment in 2001. “This disease silently reduces kidney function. A lot of people have this disease and don’t know it. The symptom of this disease is if the urine starts to foam a lot because it is losing protein through the urine”.

In 2009, he had kidney failure and started dialysis three times a week. “It was very difficult to adapt, but I ended up staying on hemodialysis for six years”.

In 2015, Araújo received a kidney from a deceased donor. “The transplant was very successful. With the transplant, I gained a new quality of life. I was held hostage. Today I have a normal life, I can practice physical activity”.

how to donate?

For kidney transplantation to be performed, it is necessary to verify through tests the compatibility between donor and recipient so that there is less chance of rejection. You must be over 18 years of age and in good health.

The donation can be made by living or deceased donors. In the case of living donors, it is more common among blood relatives up to the fourth degree and spouses. If the donor is not a close relative, authorization from a judge is required. It is possible to live well with just one kidney. In the first 24 hours after surgery, the donor may experience pain, which goes away with medication. The next day, the donor can start walking and after about a week the stitches are removed. Discharge is usually granted three days after surgery.

To receive an organ from a deceased donor, the patient must be registered in the Single Technical Registry of the Ministry of Health. Registration is done by the transplant medical team responsible for the care.

The distribution of donated organs is controlled by the National Transplant System of the Ministry of Health and by the State Transplant Centers.

The team that performs kidney transplantation is multidisciplinary. The nephrologist, urologist, vascular surgeon, general surgeon and anesthetist participate in the procedure. Other support specialists, such as an intensivist and radiologist, may also be called.

Anyone who wants their organs to be donated after death must notify the family so that they can authorize the medical procedure of removal.

Source: CNN Brasil

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