Transplant Surgeon Dr. Chris Auvenshine with the Avera Transplant Institute.
The Avera Transplant Institute is the largest and longest running transplant center in the state of South Dakota. The first transplant surgery done at Avera McKennan was a kidney back in 1993. The team has gone on to perform more than 600 solid organ transplants. Nancy Naeve Brown talked with an Avera Transplant Surgeon about what the kidneys do and why they fail sometimes.
Transplant Surgeon Dr. Chris Auvenshine with the Avera Transplant Institute says, "The kidneys primary job is to filter the blood and regulate the electrolytes within our bloodstream.
Q: What happens when they don't do their job?
A: When that doesn't work patients tend to develop high blood pressure, they will have electrolyte imbalances that can be life threatening. Those patients will ultimately transition to chronic hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
Q: What causes the kidneys to fail?
A: The most common causes of kidney failure include diabetes, hypertension, a disease called polycystic kidney disease where the normal kidney tissue is replaced with multiple cysts. There are a number of diseases that cause failure to the filtering system within the kidney on a microscopic level.
Q: You mentioned dialysis, we've heard from a number of patients it is no way to live.
A: We are very strong advocates for treating end stage renal disease with kidney transplantation. Patients are found to have twice the life expectancy from kidney transplant than they would if they simply choose to stay on dialysis.