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Understanding Kidney Transplants

Understanding Kidney Transplants

Kidneys remove excess fluid and waste from the blood. When they lose their filtering ability, high levels of fluid and waste accumulate in the body, leading to kidney failure.

When is a Kidney Transplant required and how is it done?

When the kidneys perform only a fraction of the normal function, it is termed as end-stage kidney disease. Patients with this stage of kidney failure either have to get the waste removed from their bloodstream through regular dialysis or undergo a kidney transplant.

A kidney transplant is done by placing a kidney from a live or deceased donor into a person whose kidneys are not functioning properly.

Causes of end stage kidney disease

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic, uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis, an inflammation and eventual scarring of the tiny filters within the kidneys
  • Polycystic kidney disease

The Kidney Transplant Team

Specialists from a variety of fields are needed to determine if a kidney transplant is appropriate. The team may include:

  • Urologist
  • Transplant surgeons
  • Transplant coordinator
  • Social worker to discuss personal information
  • Psychiatrist
  • Anesthesiologist

Kidney Transplant Surgery

A person who is the first relative of the patient (according to the THO act) or has taken special permission from the government appointed authorization committee, can donate a kidney.

The donor can lead a normal and comfortable life without any lifestyle or diet changes, after donating a kidney. Laparoscopy is usually used to remove the donor kidney. Advantages of laparoscopy include less pain, shorter hospital stay, a more rapid return to normal activities and a smaller, less noticeable scar. For those who do not have a suitable donor, the patient awaiting a transplant goes on a kidney transplant waiting list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor.

During the transplant, the new kidney is placed in the lower abdomen. The blood vessels of the new kidney are attached to blood vessels in the lower part of the abdomen. The new kidney’s ureter is connected to the urinary bladder. A kidney transplant surgery usually lasts for about three to four hours. To prevent the body from rejecting the new kidney, medications to suppress the immune system should be taken lifelong.

UPDATED ON 14/05/2024

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