Donating kidney may raise disease risk slightly
February 11th, 2014
04:01 PM ET

Donating kidney may raise disease risk slightly

Those who make life-saving kidney donations may face a slightly increased risk of suffering from end-stage renal disease themselves, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

The study authors compared living kidney donors to healthy individuals who would also likely qualify to donate but never did. While the actual donors had an estimated lifetime risk of 90 out of 10,000 for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), the nondonors’ risk was slightly lower at 14 out of 10,000.

“As a medical community, we feel that it’s our imperative to understand, as well as we possibly can, what these risks are and communicate them with people,” says study author Dr. Dorry Segev, a professor of surgery at John Hopkins University School of Medicine.


Improved brain injury survival furthers organ shortage
Safety measures like seat belts prevent new injuries from occurring and prevent existing injuries from progressing to brain death.
November 4th, 2013
01:37 PM ET

Improved brain injury survival furthers organ shortage

More hospital patients are surviving traumatic brain injuries - which is good news, except for those waiting on donated organs for transplants. Improved survival rates have resulted in fewer transplant organs being available, Canadian researchers found.

A study published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CAMJ), examined the recovery outcomes of 2,788 adult patients admitted to regional intensive care units in Alberta, Canada, over a 10.5 year period.

“Prior to the study, we had noticed a decline in the number of deceased organ donors in Southern Alberta,” said Dr. Andreas Kramer, lead author of the study. “Since we were seeing fewer patients with brain injuries, we thought we would find fewer patients progressing to neurological death.”

Researchers looked at ICU patients with various types of brain injuries. They found the greatest increase in survival rates were among traumatic brain injury patients. FULL POST

Will Facebook’s organ donor success stick?
June 18th, 2013
01:41 PM ET

Will Facebook’s organ donor success stick?

It seems we often hear of another patient who has been desperately waiting for a transplant that could save his or her life.

Earlier this month it was a 10-year-old girl in Pennsylvania hoping for a new set of lungs. Before that it was Molly Pearce, who needs four organ transplants to survive. In September a man walked the streets of his South Carolina town asking strangers for a kidney for his wife.

More than 118,000 people in the United States are currently awaiting organ donations, according to OrganDonor.gov; 18 of them die each day without a donation.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is hoping to change that with the power of the world’s largest social networking site. On May 1, 2012, Facebook launched an initiative aimed at encouraging more people to register as organ donors.

October 31st, 2012
11:50 AM ET

A tale of two transplants

Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessedTwo years ago, we profiled singer Charity Tillemann-Dick, whose lungs were failing due to pulmonary hypertension.  But she survived thanks to a double-lung transplant.  This week Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on how this soprano from Denver, Colorado, was facing death a second time because her lungs were failing again. Here, Tillemann-Dick writes about her struggle.

It was the worst of times.  I was afraid to go to sleep, fearing the next breath just wouldn’t come if I didn’t force my diaphragm down. The muscle is supposed to work involuntarily, but I think my diaphragm forgot that fact.

I had tubes coming out of my arms, wrists, chest and anywhere else you might be able to fit a tube.  My body ached.  My head pounded. I was miserable. Still, all I wanted was to live.  I wanted to wake up and see my husband.  I wanted to sit down at a meal and eat with my family. I wanted to stay up late gossiping with my mother and my sisters. I wanted to go outside and take a walk. I wanted to continue my life-long dream of being an opera singer.

I was waiting at The Cleveland Clinic for a lung transplant. But I wasn't waiting for my first. One year earlier, my body began to reject the first set of transplanted lungs and so I waited behind others, hoping a match would come but knowing it wasn’t a sure thing -– it wasn’t even likely. FULL POST

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.