Knowledge Alert – Kidney Transplant FAQ’s That You Need to Know
A kidney transplant refers to the transfer of a healthy kidney from one individual into the body of another person who has very little kidney function. The primary role of kidneys is to filter waste products from the blood and convert them to urine. If the kidneys lose this function, then the waste products can build up in the body, which is potentially life-threatening. This loss of kidney function is known as chronic kidney disease or end-stage renal disease. It is possible to partially duplicate the function of the kidney using a blood filtering procedure known as dialysis. However, this can be time-consuming and inconvenient, so it is the best possible treatment for a kidney failure.
Q. What are the two kinds of transplants?
A. Kidneys for transplant may come from a deceased donor, or from a healthy living donor, like a family member who is willing to donate a kidney.
Q. Who cannot get a kidney transplant?
A. Some factors prevent patients from getting a kidney transplant. However, age is not a factor which determines your kidney transplant eligibility, if you’re otherwise healthy. Your transplant doctor will discuss with you your eligibility during the transplant evaluation process. Some of the factors include:
– Uncorrectable heart disease
– A short life expectancy – Recent cancer (other than most skin cancers)
– Untreatable psychiatric illness
– Active substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)
Q. When is the ideal time to get a transplant?
A. The earlier you get a transplant, the healthier it is. Your transplant team determines the best time for you.
Q. What medicines will you be required to take afterwards?
A. After the kidney transplant, you have to take your anti-rejection medications. Following a transplant of kidney, patients gradually requires reduced dose of medication over time. In addition medication for other health issues (blood pressure, insulin, etc.) have to be taken.
Q. What is the procedure of the transplant surgery?
A. Before the patient goes into the surgery, certain medicines are prescribed to help them relax. Then general anaesthesia is given. The donor and recipient are present in adjacent operating rooms. The transplant surgeon first removes the kidney from the donor and prepares it for transplant into the recipient. The surgeon then connects the renal vein and artery of the new kidney to the recipient’s vein and artery. This connection makes the blood flow through the kidney, which then produces urine. Then the ureter of the donor is stitched onto the bladder. Usually, the new kidney starts working immediately. However, in some cases, it takes several days for the donor kidney to start working efficiently.
Q. How long will you be admitted in the hospital post-surgery?
A. Patients are typically required to spend 5 to 7 days in the hospital after their kidney transplant surgery.
Q. What risks are there for a kidney patient?
A. There is less than 1% chance of death from surgery, which is the same as for any major surgery. Other risks include some surgical complications like fever, infection, bleeding, kidney graft failing in the first year, thrombosis (clot formation) in kidney vessels or ureter/vessel anastomosis leak.
Q. How successful are kidney transplant surgeries?
A. Most of the transplanted kidneys start working immediately. However, some are slower and you may need dialysis for 1 to 3 weeks after surgery. 1-2% of transplants fail immediately.
Q. What would happen if the kidney transplant didn’t work? Will you die?
A. No. There are two options to choose from if the transplant doesn’t work, which are:
– Follow another transplant
– Start or resume dialysis
Q. What can patients do if they want a transplant but don’t have a living donor?
A. Get yourself enrolled in waiting list for a deceased donor transplant. This is for the patients who do not have a living donor.
Even though, most of the transplants are successful and last for many years, the duration of which they last vary from one person to another. Apparently, many people end up needing more than one kidney transplant during a lifetime. Hospitals such as Max Healthcare specialises in transplant of kidney, where they appropriately examine and advise you about the management of the disease.