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A Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) measures how well  kidneys filter your blood.  A lovely radiologist called Sarah greeted me. My weight and height were taken. Sarah put a  canular into my left arm. It is from this that the blood samples will be taken.  A small amount of Heparin was used to stop any blood clotting in the canular which would interfere with the drawing of the samples.

In my right arm she put a “butterfly IV canular” into which she injected a very small amount of special radioactive tracer (probably less radioactive amount than having a normal x-ray).   The canular in my right arm was then removed.

Sarah explained that I had to come back in an hour when a blood sample will be drawn. I also had to come back each hour after that – four times in total.  I had to be as near to the hour as possible – give or take 5/10 minutes. She will know what time to expect me so to sit outside and she will come for me.  When the last blood sample is taken I will have another small amount of tracer inserted in left arm and wait a further hour then the scan can take place.   The type of canular used in the arm means I don’t have to have a needle go into my arm each time. Just the once to put in the canular.  When the blood is drawn or tracer inserted –  the needle enters the end of the canular only.  I didn’t feel a thing. 

Between samples I was allowed to leave the department, go to the canteen or even pop into the village to a delightful coffee house there!  As long as I was back at the appointed time .. that was important …. I could leave the department. 

I thought the day would be really boring especially as I was there from around 9:30am until about 4:00pm, but it was not too bad. An hour goes quite quickly if you have a good book to read. Also there were a few canteens to visit including a Starbucks.   I chose the Reception area as my “home base” where there were very comforatable chairs.  I found it quite fascinating to just watch the people – it was almost like a “day in the life of a hospital reception area”.  

When I returned each hour for the blood sample to be taken, it took no time at all.  Had a quick chat and laugh with Sarah who, as the day progressed, looked noticebly more tired!  It made you appreciate just how hard the medical profession works. On the go the whole time, I don’t think she had time for lunch even.

When the last blood sample was taken she gave me the injection (via the canular) for the kidney scan (NM Renal DMSA). So one more hour to wait ….. I rang  to arrange for my lift to come and pick me up as it would be about an hour for them to get to me.

The scan was quick and very fascinating.  You lay on your back on this “trolley” which is then wheeled under the scanner which is squarish and when lowered is just above the abdomen.  I had to lay still while the scan took place. No noise from the machine so you were unaware it was even working … except that on the monitor you saw two pictures of your kidneys taking shape.  One picture was from the top and one from the back of you.  Wow … it was amazing. All these white dots building up a picture.  My left kidney was noticebly larger than my right, which was slightly lower than the left. Both these are quite normal, one kidney is often larger and one kidney a bit lower.

Tests now complete I could go home. Overnight the blood samples are prepared and my consultant will sent results of those and the scan asap.

The small amount of radioactive material injected into me will have no affect on me and will be flushed out my body within 24 hours.

As far as I am aware I have now had all the physical evaluation tests.  The psychiatrist evaluation should be next followed by an overall assessment by an independant person who then puts the report in to the Human Tissue Board and asks for permission for me to be a donor (assuming of course I pass his assessment).

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18 Responses to “Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) and NM Renal DMSA”

  • Peter:

    I added your blog to bookmarks. And i’ll read your articles more often!

  • Skye:

    Reading a number of your blogposts I must say i found this specific one to be really good. I’ve got a blog as well and want to repost some snips of your content in my own blog. Should it be ok if I use this as long I reference your blog post or build a back-link towards the post I took the snip from? Otherwise I recognize and could not do it without your approval . I have book marked the posting to twitter in addition to facebook accounts for reference. Anyway appreciate it either way!

  • Diane:

    Hi Skye,
    Yes of course you can repost some of my blog. The more people that are aware of living kidney donation the better.

    Cheers
    Di

  • Kang204:

    Thank you for posting this, I thought it was extremely useful, and it answered much of the problems I had.

  • Terry:

    Hi Di,

    What was your GFR result?? Im in the process for my brother at the moment and just had my GFR and the results has come back “Borderline” but my LDC still seems upbeat about it all and is waiting to the CT scan to see all results with the consultant and give the go ahead then if ok.

    Thanks Terry.

  • Diane:

    Hi Terry,
    You know I havent a clue! It never occurred to me at the time to ask for my results, I was so keen to pass all the tests I just thought if they make the next appointment I must have passed the last. I had to have my blood tested for something else at my GP and it came back with low GFR (I will have to have a hunt for what it was) so he contacted the hospital and they said it was fine. The GFR does drop after donating but is not a problem. At the end of the day the consultant will make the decision as to whether it is okay or not. I will see if I can find my “low” GFR and get back to you.
    Di
    x

  • Terry:

    Thanks so much Di and yes I know they have to make sure I will be fine after and the GFR will drop by 50% at donation but incresses as your body gets use to one kidney.

    I just hate the waiting bit as you did lol but hey its been going on since feb this year and have not had any probs until the GFR even got told I had “Boring” but healthy kidneys at the ultrasound lol

    Tel x

  • Diane:

    Hi Terry,
    It is debateable (umm never could spell that word) as to how much the GFR increases as time goes on. Mine a year later was not much different to after donation (will try and hunt it out shortly). Yes it is a waiting game, but I think if people know how long they have to wait it makes it a bit easier. I was told about 3 months 6 at the most … a year plus later .. lol ….
    Keep us informed as to how all your tests go, you must be not too far from the end now?
    Di
    x

  • Terry:

    Hi Di

    No its the last of the test before they say yes or no and all was left after is the HTA and any tests just before the op if needed.

    And yours was a little longer than most that I have read about and have just finished read your story lol, And can so understand when your got upset at the heart ultrasound and wanting the test results now !!.

    Im doing this for my brother and fingers crossed its all ok next week and we can go ahead.

    Thanks for looking for me.

    Tel x

  • Diane:

    Hi Tel,
    Oh My you are there!! lol … exciting times!!! gosh I am getting all excited now for you and your brother. Can I ask at which hospital? You dont have to answer.

    Please please get back to us and let us know how it all goes.

    Yes, I can look back now on my own experience and laugh at a lot of it, including getting the ultrasound off the technician there and then!! lol ….

    You will both be in my thoughts. You are a great brother and you are a wonderful person indeed!!
    Di
    x

  • Terry:

    Hi Di,

    So are you!!, And ask what ever you like, Its going to be carried out in Leeds St Jimmys as its the local Transplant centre near to my brother he lives near Grimsby and I live in Kent lol Had the first meeting with Julie my LDC at the Hull royal infirmary back in May and they said then it will be carried out in Sept/Oct this year.

    Just this little Borderline result on the GFR to pass but my LDC seems still very upbeat and is going to ring me asap next week when our Doctor is back from leave.

    Tel x

  • Terry:

    Di if this is putting too much on this page then feel free to use my email and just reading some other stuff and you have posted on a forum on there lol how spooky or your just very busy lol but in a good way x

  • Diane:

    Hi Tel,
    No not too much on the page but if you would prefer by email then use the contact form at the top of the page and then I can reply via email. I have deleted your email address from the previous post or you will get a ton of spam, I have a note of what it is.

    Yes I do seem to get around, lol .. too much time on my hands. I got involved in a live radio this morning on the morals or merits of buying kidneys in this country following a newspaper article, lol … got a bit carried away I think.

    I have a facebook page if you want to add your name to that, though different type of posts there, you can find it here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-Kidney-Donation/318202637871
    I have to say I feel quite passionate about organ donation and live kidney donation in particular and supporting those donating in any way I can. I may just email you anyway a bit later, have to go turn the oven off or lodgers will have a sad offering tonight!!

    Di
    x

  • Terry:

    Thanks and message sent, And have got the Facebook page and added you to my twitter lol.

    Dont burn the dinner!! and have found a lot of info on here so thanks again x

  • Diane:

    lol .. yup got the message and responded. Off for a trip to London tomorrow to meet a friend for lunch so today trying to do the things I should do tomorrow that I won’t be able to along with things I should do today … not going to plan!! lol …

    Talk later, enjoy rest of evening and keep in touch both email and via this blog. Others will be interested to hear how you get on also. This blog gets over 3,000 visits each month which I think is pretty good.
    All the best
    Di
    x

  • Terry:

    Hi Di,

    I will do and Thanks and more than happy to keep you updated its been nice reading everything that has been put on each part of your journey.

    You better go and get on then lol and Enjoy your lunch in London.

    Tel x

  • Terry:

    Hi all,

    Still waiting for phone call but had some good feed back on GFR from other sites.

    Am keeping everything crossed and you can all do the same for me lol any help gratefully received :o)

    Tel x

  • Diane:

    Fingers & toes tightly crossed!!

    Di
    x

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