Lisa’s Post-Donation Challenges


I am a kidney donor with the donation made to my brother on 2/16/09. This has been a very difficult 9 months.  I immediately had a severe drop in blood pressure (postural hypotension), major headaches, and ongoing fatigue.  Upon discharge from the Cleveland Clinic, I visited my primary care MD as instructed, who was uncertain what to recommend.  I then saw a Nephrologist.  Over a period of months, the Nephrologist ordered a battery of tests that eventually resulted in identifying adrenal gland dysfunction.  In searching on my own, I have learned that when the left kidney is removed the left adrenal gland is disrupted.  No one shared this with me and either kidney could have been used.  No one gave me any indication that this was a potential complication.  I am angry that I was not informed prior to the surgery.  A study at the University of Zurich has been evaluating this issue since 2005.  The physician leading the study advises that patients with this diagnosis should be seen by an endocrinologist, to be treated for adrenal insufficiency. Please inform others who may have a choice, or who are also suffering from this adrenal impairment.