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Frequently Asked Questions about Kidney Transplant

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By: Dr Salil Jain

When Is A Kidney Transplant Needed?

Kidney transplant is advised for patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Stage 5 or End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) when both kidneys cease functioning due to irreversible damage. Treatment options include lifetime dialysis or kidney transplantation.

What are the kinds of transplants?

  • Kidneys for transplant may come from deceased donors or healthy living donors

Is there a difference between having a living or deceased donor transplant?

  • Yes, living donor transplants typically last longer because the kidney is removed from a healthy donor.

Is Kidney Transplantation Better Than Relying On Dialysis?

  • Yes, studies indicate that kidney transplant recipients generally live longer than dialysis patients. Transplantation helps avoid dialysis side effects, leading to a better quality of life with fewer dietary and lifestyle restrictions. Additionally, kidney transplantation costs less compared to lifelong dialysis.

Who cannot get a Kidney Transplant?

  • Age alone is not a determining factor for transplant eligibility. However, other factors such as life expectancy, recent cancer, heart disease, psychiatric illness, substance abuse and peripheral vascular disease may prevent transplantation.

What is the procedure of Kidney Transplant?

  • Before surgery, patients receive medication for relaxation and general anesthesia. The transplant surgeon removes the kidney from the donor and prepares it for transplant in the recipient. The surgeon connects the new kidney’s artery and vein to the recipient’s artery and vein, enabling blood flow through the kidney, and sews the ureter into the bladder. The new kidney usually begins functioning immediately.

What would happen if Kidney Transplant does not work? Would the patient die?

  • No, if the transplant fails, the recipient can resume dialysis or pursue another transplant.

Can a person live longer with a transplant as compared to dialysis?

  • Yes, patients with transplants typically live longer than those on dialysis because the transplanted kidney functions continuously to remove waste, whereas dialysis removes waste only during machine sessions.

The writer is Senior Director &HoD Nephrology & Renal Transplant Fortis Hospital Gurugram

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