Kidney Transplant - Treatment for Kidney Failure - Health Education - DesiMD Healthcare - India

Kidney Transplant : Treatment for Kidney Failure

Dr.Lalit  K Agarwal profile Authored by Dr.Lalit K Agarwal on 30 Jul 2014 - 11:26.

A kidney transplant is the procedure of transferring a healthy kidney of a matching donor as a replacement to irreparable damaged kidneys. A kidney serves a very important function of  removing excess fluid and waste from the blood .

So, in the case when both the kidneys get damaged and lose the filtering ability, it leads to kidney failure or end stage chronic kidney disease. Fortunately, a person can survive normally even with one kidney. Therefore, with kidney transplantation both donor and recipient can live normally, with one healthy kidney. The functions of the damaged kidneys can be temporarily duplicated by dialysis procedure, but kidney transplantation is the more effective treatment for kidney failure.

The most important aspect of a kidney transplant procedure is availability of the matching donor.  Usually, donors are broadly categorized in two types:

  • Living donor: Living donor is a healthy person willing to donate his/her kidney when alive, could be a family member or an outsider.
  • Cadaver donors: A cadaver donor is a healthy kidney from a deceased person andmatches the required criteria.

Who can have a kidney transplant?

A kidney transplant is considered as a last hope to save one’s life which is in danger due to end-stage kidney failure which may result as a consequence of clinical conditions, such as:

  • Diabetes Mellitus (Type I and Type II)
  • Untreated hypertension
  • Scarring of glomeruli (tiny filters present within the kidney)

Most of the candidates with end-stage kidney failure are eligible for kidney transplant. However, a kidney transplant may not be successful in the following cases where:

  • The patient is not healthy enough to withstand the surgery
  • Transplant success is very less
  • The medications prescribed after the transplant is not followed
  • The patient has accompanying clinical conditions like ongoing infections, liver damage, metastatic cancer (cancer that has been spread to other parts of the body) and AIDS.

What to expect before a kidney transplant?

A team of experts may assess a patient on clinical conditions to ensure that he/she can tolerate the surgery.

  • The patient and/or family member may have to sign a consent.
  • The patient must have to take all the medications prescribed, exercise regularly (as recommended) and have to follow certain dietary recommendations.
  • May have to wait for a kidney from the suitable donor (if not available).
  • Preparation for the surgery

During a kidney transplant:

  • An incision will be made in the lower abdomen to transplant the kidney.
  • The blood vessels of the newly transplanted kidney will be linked to the blood vessels in the lower abdomen.
  • The ureter will be connected to the bladder.
  • Blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen level will be monitored during the procedure.
  • Incision will be sutured.

After the kidney transplant:

  • A patient may have to stay in the hospital for several days to week to monitor the vital parameters, complications if any and recovery.
  • Normally the newly transplanted kidney will start functioning like a healthy kidney. However, it may take several days in rare cases.
  • Regular check-up schedule must be done after discharged from the hospital.
  • The patient may have to take medications that  may include, immuno-supressants to treat acute rejection of newly transplanted kidney, and some other medications to avoid post-surgical complications.
  • Unfortunately, there is no treatment for chronic rejection.

What will be the duration of the kidney transplant surgery?

Normally, the actual process of transplanting Kidney may take about 3-4 hours.

When one can go home after a kidney transplant?

Normally, the patient may have to stay in the hospital for seven to ten days after a kidney transplant. The hospital stay can be extended if the new kidney fails to function immediately, whendialysis may be required.

How long does a kidney transplants treatment be effective?

The duration for which a transplanted kidney may function properly is associated with several factors including:

  • Type of donor
  • Age of the patient
  • Overall health of a patient (underlying clinical conditions)

On an average, the transplanted kidney may work properly for:

o   1 year – 85-95 %

o   5 years – 70-80%

o   15 years – 50-60%

If the first kidney transplant fails, then the patient is usually suitable for another transplant from either type of donor.

What are the risks after the kidney transplant procedure?

The common risks and complications that may arise after a kidney transplant surgery may include:

  • Formation of blood clots
  • Excessive blood loss
  • Leakage from the ureter
  • Blockage in the ureter
  • Post surgical infection
  • Kidney failure (donated kidney)
  • Kidney rejection (donated kidney)
  • Soreness and/ or pain around the incision (surgical site)

Medications prescribed to prevent or treat kidney rejection can cause several side effects. These may include:

  • Pimples
  • Thinning of the bone.
  • Elevated blood sugar.
  • Abnormal hair growth.
  • Hypertension.
  • Elevated blood cholesterol.
  • Increased risk of developing cancer.
  • Infection.
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Sudden weight gain.

What care one may have to take after having a kidney transplant?

Following certain healthy recommendations may help the patient to stay healthy and avoid complications after a kidney transplant. Following are the lifestyle recommendations:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Eat healthy and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid exposure to the environment that is susceptible to infections.
  • Exercise regularly (as recommended).
  • Do not take skin medications for the rest of your life.
  • Frequently undergo overall health checkups.
  • Immediately consult your doctor if you are experiencing any abnormal sign.
*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.