SLU Hospital helping kidney transplant patients with strategies for finding donors

ST. LOUIS - Kidney transplantation can provide a new chance for a longer, more active life for people who are on dialysis or have chronic kidney disease. Nationally, more than 90,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list.

SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital and the National Kidney Foundation are partnering for an innovative approach to raise awareness of living organ donation in a program called, “The Big Ask, The Big Give.” SLUCare nephrologist, Dr. Krista Lentine, MD, Ph.D., focuses on finding living organ donors.

In the program, patients on the SLU Hospital kidney transplant waiting list are invited to attend a four-hour workshop to educate patients on ways to find living donors. If a patient can be matched with a living donor, they reduce their wait time significantly as the average wait time in the U.S. is just over three and a half years, often leading to years on dialysis and failing health. Receiving a kidney from a living donor means spending less time waiting and improving outcomes.

SLU Hospital has hosted a “living donor champion” program for several years and those patients are typically pre-screened by hospital transplant coordinators to see if they would be open to having those conversations. “The Big Ask, The Big Give” program is open to all patients on the SLU Hospital transplant list and the response has been better than expected. The next event is scheduled for this fall.

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The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Thursday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​