• Transplant

    Mayo Clinic Minute: Expanding the living kidney donor pool to those with Type 2 diabetes

With more than 90,000 people in the U.S. awaiting kidney transplants, the demand exceeds the available supply — emphasizing the critical importance of identifying safe ways to broaden the kidney donor pool.

Dr. Naim Issa, a Mayo Clinic transplant nephrologist, says, until recently, patients with Type 2 diabetes have been ruled out as potential living kidney donors. Now, following strict criteria, some patients may be eligible to help close the gap on this ever-growing need for living kidney donors. 

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

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Every eight minutes, a person is added to the national kidney transplant waiting list. 

"Unfortunately, in this country, there is a large gap between the demand for kidney transplantation and the supply of organs from deceased donors," says Dr. Issa.Dialysis is an option for patients with end-stage kidney disease. Though Dr. Issa says a transplant is preferred — and having a living donor is best.

Medical illustration of living kidney donation
Medical illustration of living kidney donation

"Kidney transplantation offers greater survival benefits and increases the lifespan of people in need of kidney transplant," he says.

And that's a reason why it's important to expand the eligible kidney donor pool.

"Allowing people with Type 2 diabetes mellitus may open the door for some people who have not been eligible before to be potential living kidney donors," Dr. Issa says.

Criteria for a living kidney donor with Type 2 diabetes

Those eligible must be older than 60, have well-controlled Type 2 diabetes, not on insulin and have no family history of kidney disease.

"Any potential individual who would like to be a candidate for living kidney donation should undergo a very thorough health assessment and very thorough examination to ensure they are healthy enough," says Dr. Issa.

It's about safeguarding the potential donor's overall health — while helping close the gap.

Learn more about what it means to be a living kidney donor.

Read the news release: Type 2 diabetes no longer a barrier to becoming a living kidney donor

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