When an individual’s kidneys fail, three treatment options are available:
What is a kidney transplant?
A kidney transplant is an operation in which a person whose own kidneys have failed receives a new kidney to take over the work of cleaning the blood.
Are there different kinds of kidney transplants?
Yes. There are two types of kidney transplants:
Those that come from living donors .
Those that come from unrelated donors who have died (non-living donors).
A living donor may be someone in your immediate or extended family or your spouse or close friend, and in some cases a stranger who wished to donate a kidney to anyone in need of a transplant.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of kidney transplants.
How do I start the process of getting a kidney transplant?
Your doctor can discuss the transplant process with you or refer you to a transplant center for further evaluation.
What is rejection?
The most important complication that may occur after transplant is rejection of the kidney. The body’s immune system guards against attack by all foreign matter, such as bacteria. This defense system may recognize tissue transplanted from someone else as “foreign” and act to combat this “foreign invader.”
You will need to take medications every day to prevent rejection of your new kidney. Most patients need to take three types. The major one is usually cyclosporine or tacrolimus or sirolimus. In addition, you will most likely be taking some type of steroid and a third medication, such as mycophenolate mofetil, azathioprine or rapamycin. Additional treatment may be needed if a rejection episode occurs. Regular checkups at your transplant center will ensure early detection and treatment of rejection.
What are the side effects of the anti-rejection medications?
Anti-rejection medications have a large number of possible side effects because the body’s immune defenses are suppressed. Fortunately, these side effects usually are manageable for most patients. If side effects do occur, changing the dose or type of the medications will usually take care of them. Some of the most common side effects include high blood pressure, weight gain and a susceptibility to infections and tumors. You may also require additional medications to maintain blood pressure and prevent ulcers and infections.
What are the chances that a transplanted kidney will continue to function normally?
Results of transplantation are improving steadily with research advances. In the event that a transplanted kidney fails, a second transplant may be a good option for many patients.
The outcome of kidney transplantation is excellent and depends on few factors:
Age of the patient and the donor.
The source and quality of the kidney transplanted.
Co morbidities in patient and donor.
The transplanted kidney survival can be 85% for 5 years and 75% for 10 years.
Will I need to follow a special diet?
Kidney transplants, like other treatments for kidney failure, often require following special diet guidelines. If you were on dialysis before, you may find this new diet less restricted. The length of time you must follow the special diet varies. Your progress will be followed closely, and your doctor and dietitian will change your diet as needed.
What else can I do?
The patient after transplantation should follow instructions with regard to his clinic visits, diet, medications and report to his physician for any new complain appears.