This article originally appeared on The American Journal of Kidney Diseases’ (AJKD) Blog
Today marks an exciting change in kidney transplantation. Although there have been adjustments to the kidney allocation system over the last 20 years, there has not been a major change. This is despite a growing waitlist and a shortage of organs. Allocation is currently driven predominantly by wait time rather than matching kidneys with appropriate recipients.
On Sunday, November 9, 2014 over 100 participants (consisting of Mount Sinai RMTI staff, our community partners, patients & families) proudly represented “TEAM MOUNT SINAI” as we “Talked the Talk and Walked the Walk” at the 2014 National Kidney Foundation NYC Kidney Walk.
One third of people in need of a kidney transplant will be blood type incompatible with their donor and even more will be incompatible because of harmful antibodies against their donor. Yet sometimes, one person’s incompatibility can be another’s blessing in disguise.
Take for example Gina Dosso and her sister Maria Dosso. Gina had kidney failure and was nearing dialysis. Her sister Maria decided that she would like to donate a kidney to her. Unfortunately, even though they were related, Gina’s blood had harmful antibodies that would have caused her body to reject Maria’s kidney. In fact, Gina’s blood had harmful antibodies to greater than 80% of the population making it very difficult to find her any compatible donor. But rather than give up, with the help of the Mount Sinai Kidney Transplant team, they were enlisted into the National Kidney Registry, an organization that helps incompatible people find other incompatible people to perform a kidney “swap” with.
When former New York Jets running back Dennis Bligen was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) in 2011, and told by doctors that he needed a new kidney, the news came as a shock.
For his long-time friend, Jill Christensen—who worked with him in the athletics department at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y.—the news was a call to action. “I just knew I would get tested [to become a donor],” she says. But it turned out that Ms. Christensen’s kidneys were not an appropriate match.