Getting off Dialysis for Good

May 30, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Right now, 70,000 Americans are waiting for a kidney transplant. A third of them are on dialysis, not eligible for a transplant because their antibodies are too high, making the risk of rejection almost unavoidable. Now, a new medical breakthrough may get them off dialysis for good.

All the pieces of 27-year-old Lakeisha Hall's life are finally coming together. At 15, she was told she was losing her kidneys.

"It started out as a kidney infection, which then turned into a disease," Lakeisha told Ivanhoe.

After that, her teen years were spent on dialysis.

"At first it was hard. I didn't like it. I hated going on dialysis," Lakeisha says.

But it's a disease her entire family is fighting for her. Her sister, brother and mother have all donated their kidney to give Lakeisha a chance at the life she dreams of living.

"That is the hardest part, seeing her over and over again, never giving up," Jaunita Hall, Lakeisha's mother, told Ivanhoe.

Lakeisha, like many people waiting for kidney transplant, has high levels of anti-donor antibodies, caused by too many transfusions.

"These antibodies, they build up with cause rejection of the organs almost immediately," Stanley Jordan, M.D., director of nephrology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, told Ivanhoe.

But intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG), is giving patients new hope.

"IVIG is able to block these antibodies and allow people to get a transplant when the antibodies are low," Dr. Jordan says.

During two, four-hour dialysis treatments, patients are given blood containing a mix of immunoglobulins, which block harmful antibodies from injuring a donated kidney.

IVIG allowed Lakeisha to go ahead with her kidney transplant and now, she's making plans for the future.

"I want to go on vacation. I want to go on vacation with no dialysis," Lakeisha says.

And with that, Jamaica here she comes!

Lakeisha recently finished her treatment and was able to return home to Louisiana. She says she's doing well and will even be back to work this month.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Patient Information Line
(800) 233-2771


Load Comments