For surgically qualified patients that have consistently shown compliance with their medical care, a kidney transplant is the best replacement option available due to the best filtering (the kidney works 24/7) and therefore improved health and life expectancy compared to dialysis patients. Patients can bypass dialysis completely if they are prepared, well-informed, proactive, and have an available donor.
To start the process of transplant evaluation, your kidney needs to function at less than 20 percent for at least 3 months. You should plan for the entire evaluation to take at least 6-8 months as long as no problems are detected. It will take longer if medical conditions need to be addressed and optimized for you or your living donor.
If you do not have a living donor, the average waiting time, depending on your blood type, is about 3 years in Florida. Florida has short waiting time compared to the rest of the country. Remember, a kidney transplant is not an emergency since dialysis therapy can be used as a bridge to keep patients alive until transplant evaluation is properly done.
As with any surgery, there are risks involved with a kidney transplant. Dialysis patients get priority over patients with some remaining kidney function. Each transplant center has its own statistics, protocols, and experience, and each decides whether or not to participate in the kidney paired donation program.
This program assists in matching donors where if you (the recipient) do have an available living donor but he or she has an incompatible blood type or poorly matched HLA compatibility, you can exchange kidneys with another recipient/donor pair that is a better match, allowing a transplant to take place with the best results.
A Kidney transplant has an average success rate of 96% in the first year. Anti-rejection drugs lengthen the lifespan of a donated kidney, which may range from 15 years when received from a living donor to an average of 5-7 years when the donor is deceased.
Our nephrologists will assist you and make recommendations based on your needs. The more informed you are, the sooner you are able to prepare and achieve a transplant without requiring dialysis support. Within the state of Florida there are 7 active kidney transplant centers, and we will be happy to assist you with the list at your request.
For more information or to see one of our nephrologists in the Tampa area, call Florida Kidney Physicians at (813) 910-0030 or you can request an appointment online.