Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nephrology - The Best Transplant Field?

I'm in Philadelphia at the American Society for Nephrology Kidney Week.  For me, it's a busy four days of meetings for their medical student program, the ASN Workforce Committee, and the Nephcure Foundation.  Of course, as a medical student attending a specialty meeting, the ubiquitous question is "What do you want to go into?"  I've been telling people something along the lines of "I want to go into transplantation but not sure about what specialty, since there are a lot of possibilities."  The obvious response, it seems, is that the best field for someone interested in transplant is nephrology!  They make some good points:

  • The kidney is the most commonly transplanted solid organ, by a pretty wide margin.  There are just more kidney transplants out there.
  • Related to the first point, it's feasible to practice transplant nephrology or kidney transplant surgery full time, while specializing in other organs usually requires more non-transplant-related work.
  • The immunology of transplant rejection has been best studied in the kidney, both in the pioneering work and in newer research on donor specific antibodies and antibody mediated rejection.
  • Renal disease affects many recipients of nonrenal solid organ transplants, due to some immunosuppressant drugs and damage during the serious illness of organ failure.  Luckily, the hearts, lungs, livers, etc. of transplant patients don't tend to be as uniquely harmed.
Anyway, nephrology deserves at least a few days of intense exploration, so tomorrow at 6:30 AM it begins again.

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