I am sharing below an article that explains why transplant is preferred over perpetual dialysis. The moment my mother was diagnosed with ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease), I looked for related articles and the possible solutions to this problem. Since then, kidney transplant has become my goal for my mother!


by Irene Sino Cruz, Visayas Bureau

“If you have dreams you want to fulfill, then get a transplant. But if you don’t, don’t bother.”

This was the advice that organ transplant surgeon Dr. Alvin Roxas gave to 28-year-old Lemuel Abella, who has a chronic kidney ailment.

Abella, a jobless seaman from San Fernando town in Cebu, had been on dialysis for about a year.

But his father, Mario, and the rest of the family decided Lemuel should have a kidney transplant rather than undergo constant dialysis — a lifelong treatment. Mario explained the family preferred that Lemuel have a normal life rather than be held hostage to his debilitating ailment. After Mario talked to his youngest son Noel, 22, the latter agreed to donate one of his kidneys to his brother, who got married in August last year.

When the operation started early Saturday, Mario was teary-eyed as he watched the doctors operate on both sons.

20 surgeons

The Philippines has 20 organ transplant surgeons but there are only two of them practicing in Cebu, Roxas said. Davao has three such surgeons, Iloilo and Bacolod have one each while the rest are based in Metro Manila, he added.

Roxas said a good number of patients come from the Visayas and Mindanao so he expected more would seek treatment in Cebu. Tuason also said the hospital spent over P1 million to acquire medical equipment for kidney transplantation. The hospital also spent P3.5 million for the light emission diode lighting system for the operating rooms. Tuason could not say how much the kidney transplantation would cost although he said a similar operation at the National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI) could cost nearly P1.5 million. However, he noted that it would be more cost-effective to have a kidney transplantation than undergoing dialysis for life.

According to Tuason, each dialysis treatment costs a minimum of P3,000. Since a patient undergoes between two to four treatments a week, he would have to spend at least P312,000 a year for dialysis. While the patient has to spend a huge amount for a transplant, it would mean a normal life once again, he added.

Mario agreed since undergoing the operation would enable his son Lemuel to go back to work. According to the World Kidney Day 2007 website (www.worldkidneyday.org), over 500,000 million individuals, or about one in every 10 adults, have some form of chronic kidney disease (CKD). It also disclosed that over 1.5 million people are alive through either dialysis or kidney transplantation.

The NKTI, in its annual report, said it registered a 17-percent increase in dialysis sessions while kidney transplantations rose by almost 7 percent. If undetected, CKD’s first consequence is the risk of developing progressive loss of kidney function leading to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or transplantation. The second is premature death from associated cardiovascular disease.