Kidney transplant waiting lists lengthen - icWales
Kidney transplant waiting lists lengthen
Mar 13 2008 by Madeleine Brindley, Western Mail
THE number of people waiting for a kidney transplant in Wales has risen by 52% in the past six years.
Figures, published today for the first time, also reveal that up to 10,000 people in Wales are now suffering from some form of chronic kidney disease.
But there is a desperate shortage of close-to-home dialysis stations in parts of Wales.
In the last year, doctors have seen a 16% increase in the number of patients joining the transplant list – there were 431 people waiting at the end of 2007, but just 89 kidney transplants were carried out in Wales last year.
Experts believe the increase in kidney disease, which is being fuelled by chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and the obesity epidemic, represents one of Wales’ biggest public health threats for decades.
Allison John, of Kidney Wales Foundation, said, “These figures are shocking and reveal the public health threat we are facing in Wales. They are especially worrying as the numbers diagnosed with renal failure are likely to increase dramatically again over the next decade with the rise in obesity and the linked problems of diabetes and heart disease.
“There is also a desperate shortage of donors in Wales and, sadly, since 2003, more than 100 people have died before getting that second chance a kidney transplant could give them.”
Dr Richard Moore, clinical director of nephrology and transplantation at Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, said the increase in kidney disease was symptomatic of Wales’ ageing population.
Speaking on World Kidney Day, today, he said, “We know that kidney disease is more common in the older population and we also have a growth in diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, all of which carry a risk of chronic kidney disease.”
The International Society of Nephrology and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations said chronic diseases, including kidney disease, have replaced communicable diseases as the leading threat to both public health and healthcare budgets.
Dr Moore said there are plans in place in Wales to increase the “limited” number of dialysis stations – Health Minister Edwina Hart will today officially open a £4m kidney unit at West Wales General Hospital, in Carmarthen, with 26 stations – but the NHS must start planning for long-term demand.
And he said there were “reasons to be optimistic” about kidney transplantation, with a new unit to be built in Cardiff and plans to expand living donation.
The difference it makes
Just 10 weeks after her kidney transplant, the change in Zowiann Flood is remarkable. The 12-year-old is eating normal meals for the first time in her life since she was a baby and was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition.
Although it is still early days, her family are hopeful Zowiann’s energy will continue to improve and she will be able to lead a more active life.
Zowiann was born with the rare genetic disorder Falconi’s Cystinosis, which meant her kidneys cannot retain the nutrients her body needs.
Mum Lorraine, 47, had hoped to donate one of her own kidneys, but was unable to, and Zowiann was put on the transplant list in November, months after starting dialysis.
Within a month, a perfect match had been found – a 45-year-old mother-of-two who had died – and Zowiann had the transplant at Bristol Children’s Hospital just after Christmas.
Lorraine said, “Although we were so excited for Zowiann, it was so sad for that family to have lost someone they loved between Christmas and New Year. We can never thank that family enough.”
The Flood family will be leading this year’s Kidney Wales Foundation Walk for Life in Pontypridd and want more people to take part in the event on March 30.
For more information, call Lorraine on 01443 491 596 or the Kidney Wales Foundation office on 029 2034 3940.