What is kidney transplant?

kidney transplantKidney transplant is a surgical procedure where a healthy kidney from one person (the donor) is placed into the body of a person who have little or no kidney activity (the recipient). A transplant is recommended for people who have serious kidney dysfunction who require dialysis for survival.

The new kidney is inserted into the lower abdomen during the operation, and connected to an artery and vein (to the leg). Usually, the new kidney will start making urine as soon as the blood starts flowing through it, but around one third of patients will require dialysis for about a week. In most cases, patients leave hospital two weeks after the surgery.

What are the functions of kidney transplant?

A successful transplant may free persons with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) from the need for dialysis therapies. This is a more effective treatment for Renal Failure than either peritoneal dialysis or haemodialysis. One kidney from a successful transplant provides ten times more function than dialysis. Transplant patients have less restrictions and a better quality of life, with more energy than they did on dialysis.

What are the side effects of kidney transplant?

A very critical part of organ transplantation is preventing the donor kidney from being rejected by the patient's body. The rejection takes place because the body's immune system doesn't recognize the foreign body. So it is necessary to suppress patient's immune system with the help of immunosuppressive drugs. Since the immune system is suppressed, the patient may be more susceptible to kidney transplant side effects like infection and sepsis. Other side effects may also include:

•Post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). This disorder is caused by the suppressants that one has to take.

•Imbalance of the electrolytes such as calcium and phosphate which may lead to a decrease in individual's bone health.

•Other kidney transplant medicine side effects include Diabetes (type 2), hair loss, obesity, ulcers of the esophagus and stomach, high blood pressure, tremors, acne, hirsutism, etc.

What are the features of kidney transplant?

Though a transplant may offer great chance of returning to a more normal life, but it is not suitable for every person. Factors that affect one's suitability for this procedure may include:

▪ General health
▪ History of blood circulation problems, heart disease, cancer, etc
▪ Emotional/psychological factors
▪ Obesity

After undergoing a series of tests, a person found to be a potential candidate is put on a transplant waiting list. How long a person have to wait depends on many things but is primarily determined by how hard the person is to match and how many kidneys become available. The average wait is about 3-5 years, but this varies considerably around the country.

What types of kidney transplant are there?

Based on the source of donated kidney, transplantation can be classified as living-donor or deceased-donor transplant. In the former case, the donated kidney is obtained from a living person, whereas in the latter case, the donated kidney is from a person who died recently. Living-donor type is further categorized into living related donor (genetically related to the recipient) and living unrelated donor transplantation (not genetically related to the recipient). In all the cases, the donor should be healthy and free of any kidney diseases.

What are the kidney transplant facts?

•Kidney transplant success rate vary greatly across transplant centers. The average 3 year survival rate is 90%, and it varies between 83%~94%.

•At present, there are 63,000 people waiting for kidney transplants, with an average wait of up to 5 years.

• On average, around 8 out of 10 of people who receive a live donation will liver for at least five years after receiving the donation; around 7 out 10 people who receive a donation from a recently decreased person will live for at least five years after receiving a donation.

Dos and donts of kidney transplant

The following are some suggestions that are recommended to help patient develop a healthy lifestyle after the transplant:

•Quit smoking for persons who smoke;

•Within reason, people can eat and drink what they want after a transplant, but it's important not to gain weight too quickly and avoid salty foods that may cause high blood pressure.

•Have regular blood tests, as rejection of the kidney normally causes no symptoms.

Even if patients take all of the above measures, the body may still rejection the new kidney. In this case, they have to go back on dialysis and back on the waiting list for another kidney. Some patients have two, three or more kidney transplants in their lives.

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