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Adult Kidney Transplants: How Long Do You Have to Wait?

From the Show: Staying Well
Summary: There are many who need a kidney transplant, but there are simply not enough donors.
Air Date: 8/18/14
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: David Leeser, MD
Leeser headshotDr. Leeser is an associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Chief of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation and Director of the Fellowship in Transplantation at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

He received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine and completed his general surgical residency at Temple University.

Following residency, he completed a fellowship in transplant surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center. After completing his fellowship, Dr. Leeser served in the United States Army. During his time in the service, Dr. Leeser was deployed twice in support of operation Iraqi Freedom and became the Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Prior to retiring from the Army, Dr. Leeser rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Iraq while running a combat support hospital.

After leaving the Army, he served as assistant professor of surgery at Weill-Cornell Medical College and the Director of Pancreas Transplantation at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. Dr. Leeser has special interests in research pertaining to hemodialysis access and surgical education.

Dr. Leeser specializes in kidney and pancreas transplantation, single port donor nephrectomy, and minimally invasive hemodialysis access surgery. Dr. Leeser has been named to the 2012 Super Docs and to the Best Doctors 2010-2012 in New York City.
Adult Kidney Transplants: How Long Do You Have to Wait?
A kidney transplant is needed when one (or both) of your kidneys is infected and needs to be replaced by a healthy kidney from another person. A kidney transplant can come from a living or deceased donor.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are 100,602 patients who are currently waiting for a kidney transplant.

Unfortunately, the supply does not meet the demand; there are simply not enough donors. The trouble is finding an eligible donnor -- someone either living or deceased who matches your blood type.

How long do you typically have to wait for a kidney transplant?

Many people have Type A blood, so there are more Type A donors than there are Type B or Type O. If you have Type A or Type AB, your wait time could be a three months to a year. Unfortunately, if you have a Type O blood, you can be waiting for three to seven years.

Where you live and your age also plays a major role in who can donate and your waiting time. For example, if you're in your 20s or 30s, you want your new kidneys to last you at least another 30 to 40 years.

Can a living donor decrease wait time?

If someone in your family or circle of friends has the same blood type and a healthy kidney, they can reduce the wait time. Having a living donor also reduces your chances of needing dialysis.

What else do you need to know about kidney transplants?

Chief of kidney and pancreas transplantation at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, David Leeser, MD, shares what a kidney transplant is, who is capable of donating, the waiting time and what other factors contribute to getting a new kidney.