What is a kidney transplant?
A kidney transplant is an operation in which a person with kidney failure receives a new kidney. The new kidney takes over the work of filtering waste products and excess fluids from the blood.
Are there different kinds of kidney transplants?
Yes. There are two types of kidney transplants: those that come from living donors and those that come from donors who have died (non-living donors). A living donor may be someone in your family. It may also be your spouse or close friend. In some cases, it may be a stranger who wishes to donate a kidney to anyone in need of a transplant. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of kidney transplants.
When kidneys fail, there are three treatment choices:
- Peritoneal Dialysis
- Kidney Transplantation
Many people feel that a successful kidney transplant provides a better quality of life because it may mean greater freedom and a less restrictive diet. In making a decision about whether this is the best treatment for you, you may find it helpful to talk to people who are kidney transplant recipients. You also need to speak to your doctor, nurse, and family members.
What can you expect?
Many patients ask if a transplanted kidney will continue to function normally.
Results of transplants are getting better as research progresses. If a transplanted kidney fails, a second transplant may be a good choice for many patients.
Will I need to follow a special diet?
After a kidney transplant, you will need to follow a special diet. Please consult your kidney doctor for specific dietary recommendations.
What else can I do?
You should learn as much as you can by reading and talking to your healthcare team, as well as patients who already have kidney transplants.
What is rejection?
The most important problem that may happen after transplant is rejection of the kidney.
The body’s immune system guards against attack from anything foreign, such as bacteria.
This defense system may recognize tissue transplanted from someone else as “foreign” and attack this “foreign invader”.
You will need to take immunosuppressant medicine every day, or medicine that suppresses the immune system, to prevent rejection of your new kidney.
Anti-rejection medications have a large number of possible side effects.