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Randy Martini: Living-Donor Kidney Transplant Patient Story

Randy and Nick Martini

The Challenge: Kidney Failure

Randy Martini had a history of heart disease and after a quadruple bypass in 2005, his cardiologist kept a close eye on him. As time went on, Randy developed high blood pressure and diabetes. His cardiologist recommended that he see a kidney specialist, also known as a nephrologist.

Randy’s nephrologist monitored his condition over time, and she noticed that his kidneys slowly began to deteriorate. He experienced symptoms of swelling, fatigue, and loss of color, which collectively are signs of kidney failure. Randy had a fistula installed in his arm and was facing the prospect of hemodialysis treatment, in which blood is extracted from the body, filtered to remove toxins, and then returned to the bloodstream.

Randy did not want to go on dialysis if it could be avoided and began discussing kidney transplantation with his doctor.

The Path to Living-Donor Kidney Transplant at UPMC

Randy came to the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute in late 2012 to undergo an initial kidney transplant evaluation. His family came with him for his testing, and once it was determined that Randy would need a kidney transplant, his oldest son, Nick decided to get tested to become a living kidney donor. Living-donor transplant offers many benefits including less time typically spent on the transplant waitlist and better outcomes on average.

“It’s a scary thought when a family member needs an organ transplant,” Nick says. “I did some additional research about living donation online and decided to get tested to become a donor.”

Nick was a perfect match for his father.

Once Randy and his family found out that Nick was a match, they discussed the situation at length, but for Nick, the decision to become a living donor was easy.

“I had the opportunity to give the gift of life to someone else,” he says. “It’s a gift that keeps on giving for years to come.”

The Martinis decided to move forward with the transplant.

The Solution: Living-Donor Kidney Transplant

On July 8, 2013, Randy received his new kidney from his son Nick.

"Drs. Tan and Tevar were wonderful,” Nick says. “They spoke with us for over an hour about the surgeries and explained everything in detail.”

Randy and Nick returned home a short time later.

Within a few weeks, Randy was out walking in his neighborhood.

“Before the surgery, I felt sluggish and very tired all the time,” Randy says. “It was as if there was a film covering my body that was slowing me down. Now it has been removed and I have so much more energy.”

Randy offers encouragement to others who may need a transplant by sharing his story with them and to have faith in their doctors.

“The doctors, nurses, and staff at UPMC are very caring and compassionate, and they work hard to achieve the best possible outcome for you,” he says. “I’ve been able to get back to work, continue working out, and even get in a few rounds of golf.”

Randy and Nick's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

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