Thursday, June 23, 2011

Crossmatch 2011

This blog will be posted some time after it was written due to an outside directive to not talk about my living donor experience until after I have donated.  If you are reading this, it is because I have completed the donation process.
May 9, 2011

One of the last (if not only) normal hurdle to clear before the surgery is 100% a go is a crossmatch test. If I was donating to a family memeber or friend, this test initially would have been done way back in November.  Had I not been a match then and was not going to enter a paired donation program, I wouldn't have continued through to the other tests like the MRI etc.  However because "Leftie's" new home is TBD, it is a little different for me.

Basically when I started, if I understand correctly, they did take blood to be entrered into a matching system when I started but that wasn't done until much closer to the end of the process. Crossmatching is the final test of compatibility between myself and recipient. It is used to identify the presence of  antibodies that would damage the kidney (cause rejection). The basic test involved mixing the liquid part of the recipients blood (the part of the blood with the antibodies) with cells from me. If the cells get killed, there are antibodies that would cause problems with a transplant. Not good.

Based on the original sample they took last fall, I have been tentatively matched by computer to a recipient in their database. We would have been matched on blood type and tissue, both done via standard blood tests and they may have done a computer generated crossmatch as well. This next crossmatch test will "physically" confirm the match the program has made and also ensure that nothing has changed in the composition of my blood or the recipient's like the development of antibodies. Normally changes to the blood are uncommon, unless either party has been pregnant, received a transfusion or has had a transplant and/or rejection of a transplant recently. That being said, there is the rare chance that other factors could cause things to change-but I've been told that is very unusual. It's important to be sure as the better the match, the less likely the recipient is to reject the kidney.

I'll go in for this test about two weeks before the surgery as well as a slew of other blood tests to make sure I'm still okay.  They'll just look for infection, West Nile virus, pregnancy etc to be sure. Assuming that is fine, I guess we move full steam ahead to the scheduled surgery date.  They are moving ahead as though everything will come back as expected. It feels a bit weird to be "sure of a date" but still have to pass more tests.  I understand though as I wouldn't think scheduling a kidney transplant is ideally something one does last minute-you can't even get a hair appointments at a prime time in under two weeks notice unless you are lucky!

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