Living with donor kidney for 20 years and still thriving | Western Cape Government

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Living with donor kidney for 20 years and still thriving

10 March 2022

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), it is estimated that 10% of people worldwide suffer from some form of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Therefore, it is estimated that 5 million South Africans over the age of 20 may be affected by CKD. In December 2017, the total number of patients on kidney replacement therapy (KRT) with dialysis or kidney transplant in the country was 10 744. Considering World Kidney Day that is commemorated on Thursday, 10 March 2022, this year’s theme “Kidney Health for All,”  focuses on bridging the knowledge gaps to improve kidney health through increased kidney care education and awareness in the public sector.

Hamilton Anthony (44), from Kraaifontein has been a patient at Tygerberg hospital’s Nephrology Unit since 1999. He had end-stage kidney disease due to poorly controlled blood pressure and needed to start dialysis from April 1999. Fortunately, he received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor within 3 years of being on dialysis on 2 February 2002, at the time he was 24 years old.

Dr Nontembiso Mhlana, nephrologist in training at Tygerberg Hospital said, “The average waiting period for a deceased donor kidney is about five years in South Africa. He was extremely fortunate that he did not have to wait that long. Kidney transplantation is the best option for the management of kidney disease, and it helps one live longer with a better quality of life. Following transplantation, one must take life-long immunosuppressive medication so that the body does not reject the kidney.”

Anthony has been very compliant with his medication and has maintained a healthy lifestyle over the years. He has done very well, barely had any complications or medical issues related to the transplanted kidney or the medication. On average, a kidney transplant from a deceased donor lasts for 15-20 years, while a kidney from a living donor lasts 20 -25 years.

“Hamilton has had the transplanted kidney for 20 years and is doing very well, he is working as a nurse, and he is living a good quality life,” Dr Mhlana concluded.


What you can do for your kidneys:

There are several ways to reduce the risk of developing kidney disease:

  • Keep fit, be active.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Check and control your blood sugar.     
  • Check and control your blood pressure.

Get your kidney function checked if you have one or more of the ‘high risk’ factors:

  • you have diabetes
  • you have hypertension
  • you are obese
  • you have a family history of kidney disease