Newswise — Stony Brook Medicine kidney transplant specialist Frank Darras, MD, Clinical Porofessor of Uroogy and Medical Director of Transplantation Services, is avaiable to discuss kidney transplanation and Lupus patients.

Accordng to Dr. Darras, Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an "autoimmune" disease that can harm your kidneys and other tissues, and may be fatal. SLE that affects the kidneys is called lupus nephritis. 

If the kidneys fail, lupus patients can be treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Many patients with lupus nephritis have received a kidney transplant. The drugs used to prevent rejection of the new kidney are the same or similar to those used to treat lupus. It is unusual for lupus to come back in the new kidney.

Lupus patients with new kidneys do as well as any other patients with transplanted kidneys.

More than 116,000 people are listed for an organ transplant nationwide. Many face a lengthy wait for an available organ. Yet only approximately 19,000 kidney transplants were performed in the U.S. in 2016, with about 5,600 kidney transplants by living donors.

Living kidney donation is an important option for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and has improved life expectancy and quality for patients otherwise requiring maintenance dialysis.

Studies have shown the outcome of a transplant from a living donor is better than that of a deceased donor.

With a kidney from a living donor, there’s less waiting for a kidney than one from a deceased donor. A kidney from a living donor usually functions immediately, and for a longer period of time than a kidney from a deceased donor.

Many living kidney donor transplants are done between family members. However, spouses, friends and even “strangers” can give the gift of life.

While donating a kidney involves major surgery, it is usually performed Laparoscopically thru small incisions with less pain, less scarring and faster recovery to full activity than traditional open surgery.

The risk of kidney failure is the same as for people who are not kidney donors, and living kidney donors tend to live longer than those who are not donors, because they have been screened so thoroughly.

Donating a kidney is a major decision, but the gift of life is a noble act. The results are great, the downside is minimal.

The need for kidney donors, both living and deceased, has never been greater than it is now. As transplantation continues to offer patients better outcomes, more patients are waiting for a kidney that matches their needs. Without an increase in donors, many more people will die before they have an opportunity to receive a life-saving transplant.

If you are intent on becoming an organ donor, start by registering at the DMV. Have a discussion with your family and loved ones, so that they will know your wishes and can advocate for you when the time comes.

If needed, Dr. Darras and all Stony Brook experts have access to a ReadyCam television studio system that provides remote access to television networks.