If you are here reading The Beginner’s Guide To Kidney Transplant than likely you or someone you love is faced with the prospect of needing a kidney transplant. This can be an overwhelming time and there is a lot of information out there and a lot to consider. This article is just to get you started and do a quick overview. Speak to your physicians, talk to your family and friends, get second opinions or even third – whatever it takes for you to feel able to make an informed decision and the one that is right for you.
The kidney is a fundamental element of excretory system. The two bean-shaped kidneys play a very critical role in the human body. They are responsible for filtering out the blood and other body fluids. This way, they ensure the release of waste.
Several sorts of kidney problems occur. You might experience a kidney stone, swelling or deterioration. All such kidney problems can halt excretory functions. The kidney becomes unable to filter blood. The wastes accumulate within different body parts, causing numerous issues like high blood pressure. When 90% of a kidney stops filtering and excreting, it results in kidney failure.
A kidney transplant is a life-saving procedure. It can cure kidney failure and other conditions requiring the removal of one or both kidneys.
In the initial stages, kidney wash through machines and dialysis works. However, in severe kidney failure, the only option is a kidney transplant.
Although a human body can survive on one kidney, weak individuals need another. People with other medicinal ailments or second kidney failure also rely on an outsourced kidney. This is only possible through a kidney transplant.
Causes of Kidney Failure
Despite occurring naturally, a few other factors can also cause kidney failure. Individuals having diabetes are more prone to kidney problems. Chronic or uncontrolled blood pressure levels also add to kidney damage. The consistent inflammation can affect the filtering process. They all eventually lead you towards severe kidney failure. That more possibly necessitates a kidney transplant.
Dialysis Vs. Kidney Transplant
With failed kidney, there can be two available options. Either one can go for dialysis, which is a machine-assisted excretion for a lifetime, or have a kidney transplant.
No doubt, a kidney transplant is scarier than dialysis. But it can be effective in the long term. With dialysis, a person has to continue undergoing the same procedure again and again. There is no point in getting recovered or coming back to normal. It is because dialysis is a procedure rather than a treatment.
A kidney transplant, on the other hand, offers you a one-time risk. Once you have matched the donor and undergone surgery, you will be free to continue living. That is why a kidney transplant is a preferable choice.
Some people are afraid of surgery or getting rejected during kidney transplants. Remember, it is still completely up to the patient what to opt for.
Why Opt for a Kidney transplant?
When compared to dialysis, a kidney transplant is preferable because of the following reasons;
- Low Treatment Cost – It is one-time, whereas dialysis will continue to cost for a lifetime.
- Better Quality of Life –It will let you live the rest of your life in peace and comfort.
- Fewer Dietary Restrictions –Unlike dialysis patients, there is no limitation on what or what not to eat.
- Lesser Health Risk –Unlike dialysis, it enables you to stay healthy in the long run.
Kidney transplant cannot always be in favor of everyone. A few things might restrict you from going for a transplant. It is potentially unsuitable for people with old age, severe heart diseases, cancer, mental illness, alcohol or drug addiction, etc. So, everyone needs to consult with the doctor first, and if it comes under any no-go category, the person will have to continue with dialysis.
Types of Donors for Kidney Transplant
For a kidney transplant, there can be two types of kidney donors. They are the following;
- Living Donor
A human body can rely completely on one healthy kidney for all metabolic activities. That is why an individual can always donate a kidney to someone in need. However, criteria to be met, such as blood group and tissues, should match to either donate or accept a kidney.
A kidney donor can be a family member or someone else. It is always preferable to receive a kidney from a blood relation as it lets you avoid the risk of rejection and is usually beneficial.
- Deceased Donor
Another way of getting a kidney is from a deceased person. It happens in a way that hospitals usually gather data on people needing a kidney. The hospital informs immediately whenever a deceased person’s kidney matches the patient. The doctor prepares an instant surgery for a transplant. It is significant because the kidney transplant should take place shortly for a kidney to be valuable.
Kidney Transplant Procedure
Kidney transplantation is more or less like other surgical treatments. During a kidney transplant surgery, the doctor injects the anesthetic dose within your blood through an intravenous line in your arm. It is basically to make you fall asleep or for a while to undergo the incision. Once unconscious, the doctor makes an incision to open up your abdominal region. He then puts in the donor’s kidney and connects the arteries and veins to your circulatory system. As the blood starts flowing, the new kidneys function within your body.
Alongside that, your kidneys need a connection to the ureter. It can only then carry on the excretion process smoothly. The doctor connects the newly induced kidney to the ureter and the bladder.
As far as your original kidneys are concerned, they usually remain inside the body and aren’t disposed of. However, in some cases, when the failed kidney causes trouble, it is removed too.
Risks of Having a Kidney Transplant
Although a prevailing treatment for severe kidney issues or kidney failure, a kidney transplant is not a full-proof solution. It causes multiple risks either during the transplantation surgery or afterward.
- Rejection of the Donor Organ – While operating, the donated kidney might not be compatible with your body. It is possible to even after undergoing the matching tests and everything else. Hence, it is risky.
- Kidney Diseases –The transplantation, although it eradicates the ailment, for the time being, there are chances of the patient regaining a mild or severe ailment.
- Side-effects –Undergoing the surgery can cause you side effects. It will leave an incision mark and temporarily cause redness, swelling, and pain.
None of the above three risks is unpreventable. Almost every doctor provides medication to minimize donor rejection, kidney diseases and surgical side effects.
Postoperative Possible Complications of Kidney Transplant
- Infection – Minor infections like urinary tract infections, colds, and flu are common after kidney transplants. However, in most severe conditions, pneumonia or CMV infection may occur.
- Blood clots – The most common complication after a kidney transplant is the development of blood clots in the arteries connected to the donated kidney. In some cases, medications can be used to dissolve the blood clots.
- Urine leakage – Sometimes, after a kidney transplant, urine may leak through the connection between the ureter and bladder. This usually happens during the first-month post-kidney transplant.
Opting for a kidney transplant requires you to think twice before stepping in. It is all onto you because you must live with both the benefits and risks of the transplant. You must be brave enough to analyze the situation and make a decision.
Once you agree to the transplant, it might cause you mental stress. You may feel worried about undergoing surgery and have a fear of rejection. But it would help if you calm your mind. Do exercise, eat healthy, engage in positive activities, and take good care of yourself before and after the kidney transplant.