Advances in Living Donor Transplants
Steve Adubato talks with the Chief of the Renal and Pancreas Division for Saint Barnabas Medical Center at RWJBarnabas Health, Dr. Shamkant Mulgaonkar, about the advances in living donor transplants.
"Welcome, I'm Steve Adubato. It is our honor and pleasure to welcome back, once again, it's been a long time, we have him back, Dr. Shamkant Mulgaonkar, and he is the Chief of the Renal and Pancreas Division for St. Barnabas Medical Center at RWJBarnabas Health. Good to see you Dr. Mulgaonkar. Nice to see you Steve. Yeah, let's talk... we've had conversations before about kidney disease? Mm hmm. And about the kidney transplant process. But I want to put this in perspective. How many people are waiting, if you will, for a kidney transplant in New Jersey and nationally? So nationally, we call it a tragedy. Because there are over 100,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant alone. And approximately 350,000, or more, people are already on dialysis, and we estimate close to 500,000 people are probably suffering from chronic kidney disease who will eventually need dialysis or a transplant. In New Jersey, at this time, approximately 4,000 people are waiting, about 2,500 people are active on the kidney transplant list, and desperately looking for a kidney transplant. How long do they wait? Average is about three to five years in the United States. Some circumstances where the blood type is unusual, like a blood type B, patients wait longer, five to seven years. That's a pretty long wait. Will you... to fully disclose, I know this process a little too well. Not in a bad way, but my wife is a kidney donor. And she did it out of your very fine operation. So I know your team quite well. Let me ask you this. The surgery itself? Mm hmm. I remember it, I didn't go through it, my wife did, but we talked about it extensively. Yes. Describe it. So the process of living donation is fairly straightforward for most people. The major thing is, you have to come forward to donate. You have be willing to do that. You have to be willing to help others. And then the testing is very complete. I call it "presidential testing." We do everything a US President would go through in order to clear the donor. They have to be willing, they have to be perfectly healthy, and they have to have two normal kidneys to be donors. The surgical process is very standard since 1998. Especially at St. Barnabas Medical Center and Robert Wood Johnson. It is all done laparoscopically, using cameras, and we call it "minimally invasive" because there's not much use of knife involved. We use something called a harmonic scalpel. So the patients recover much faster. Prior to 1998, Steve, the incision was pretty large. Hmm. It was under your rib. It was like a shark bite. We removed the rib. It was terrible for living donors. Recovery was very prolonged..."