Saturday, 19 April 2014

UK Sees Huge Increase in Altruistic Donations

Several UK news stations and papers are reporting today a huge increase in the number of "stranger" donations of kidneys for transplants over the last seven years.

Altruistic donation first became possible the UK in 2007. In that first year, only three kidneys were donated but last year (2013) a total of 107 donations took place. However, there are still over 5500 people in the UK on the transplant waiting list.

Okay, when comparing a first year with only three donations, any increase will seem huge, but this is an increase of almost 40 times more! And it's hoped that by raising awareness, even more generous individuals will step forward and become a living donor. There were 76 such donations in 2012. After all, if this man can do it, so can others.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

High Altitude Dialysis

A recent report suggests that if you are unlucky enough to need dialysis, it helps if you happened to live at high altitude, say 6000' amsl

University of California Irvine Medical Center studied a national cohort of 144,892 dialysis patients with a follow-up of 801 days to examine the connection between residential altitude and all-cause mortality in these patients. The researchers found that high residential altitude, defined as 6000 feet or greater, was associated with a significant 8% reduction in all-cause mortality risk in dialysis patients compared with living at less than 250 feet.

Other studies have found similar observations, but with a larger effect being reported.

However, there are a few points to be born in mind - Patients living in higher altitudes were more likely to be white, married, on peritoneal dialysis, and receiving catheter dialysis access, compared to those on lower altitudes (less than 250 feet). They also displayed higher hemoglobin and creatinine levels, but lower parathyroid hormone levels.

Perhaps the background to these high altitude patients is just as important. It has been suggested that survival of dialysis patients at high altitude is due to the regulatory effects of hypoxia-induced factors on enzymes associated with cardiovascular risk, while increased UV light at higher altitudes, leading to higher vitamin D levels, might also be a factor.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Jab solution for overactive parathyroid

This news comes from Singapore.

One side effect of kidney dialysis is overactive parathyroid glands, which are found in the neck. This could lead to a loss of calcium, resulting in bones becoming soft and deformed. - See more here

Usually, dialysis patients with overactive parathyroid glands have them removed. A tiny portion is then surgically implanted into an arm muscle to restore some of the gland's function.

Surgeons at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), however, mince the tissue finely and inject it into the fat just under the skin instead. This not just shortens the time for the surgery but also improves the patient's recovery process. And reduces scarring as well.

Such treatments do seem a bit strange, don't they. But if they work, and prevent the bones getting damaged, that's all that matters.