Living kidney transplant greatly improves quality of life

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is elated to hear of how kidney transplants turned two kidney failure patients' lives around (A second chance at love, thanks to a gift of life, May 13; and Gift of life from one brother to another, May 15).

The stories illustrate how the effects of the surgery were seen immediately, as the transplanted kidney can almost fully substitute the lost functions of the failed kidneys, allowing patients to recover fully and lead a normal life.

Kidney failure is a debilitating chronic disease that affects all areas of a patient's life.

Not only do patients with kidney failure suffer from the effects of the disease, but its inevitable treatment also has an impact on the patient's psycho-social well-being.

To sustain their life, kidney patients have to undergo dialysis.

Due to their dialysis schedules and illness, many kidney patients have found their quality of life to be greatly compromised and their activities limited. For example, many find it challenging to travel and have to plan their daily activities around their dialysis schedules. They also have dietary restrictions.

While dialysis cleanses and removes toxins from kidney patients' blood and keeps them alive, it cannot replace all the functions of the kidneys.

A kidney transplant is the best option for patients' long-term survival. It allows them to lead a normal life, with a 96.7 per cent five-year survival rate for a living donor transplant, much higher than the 61.3per cent for dialysis.

Many studies have shown that living kidney donors will still be able to lead normal lives after the surgery, and that the remaining kidney is able to take over the function of both kidneys.

However, the low living donor kidney transplant rate in Singapore is a cause for concern. While some family members or friends of kidney patients may be open to donating their kidneys to their loved ones, they may experience worries about the impact of the donation on their own health or the loss of income due to the surgery.

To allay their fears, NKF provides financial assistance to living kidney donors who pass our means test, including Mr Ng Chai Lai. To learn more about our Kidney Live Donor Support Fund visit www.nkfs.org or call the NKF hotline on 1800-KIDNEYS (1800-543-6397).

Tim Oei

Chief Executive Officer

The National Kidney Foundation

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2018, with the headline 'Living kidney transplant greatly improves quality of life'. Print Edition | Subscribe