FAQs about Kidney Transplant

By Dr. Waheed Zaman in Urology , Kidney Transplant

May 13 , 2016 | 2 min read

Our kidneys have the ability to remove excess fluid and waste from blood. When the kidneys lose their filtering ability, dangerous levels of fluid and waste can accumulate in our body leading to a severe condition known as kidney failure or end stage kidney disease. The best treatment for kidney failure is kidney transplant.

A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure to place a kidney from a live or deceased donor into a person whose kidneys no longer function properly.

What are the kinds of transplants?

Kidney for a transplant may come from a person who has died (a deceased donor) or from a healthy living person who can be a family member, a friend who donates a kidney (a living donor).

Who cannot get a Kidney Transplant?

Several patients have an assumption that if they are old they cannot get a kidney transplant, but if you are otherwise healthy, age is not a factor in determining your transplant eligibility. However, there can be other factors that may prevent patients from getting a kidney transplant if:

  • Current life expectancy is less than 5 years
  • Recent cancer (other than most skin cancers)
  • Untreatable heart disease/ psychiatric illness
  • Missing dialysis appointments or signing off the machine early
  • Active substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)
  • Lack of health insurance or Medicare/ Medicaid coverage

What is the procedure of Kidney Transplant?

Before the surgery, medicine is given to patients to make them relax. Subsequently, general anaesthesia is given. The donor and the recipient are kept in adjacent operating rooms. The transplant surgeon removes the kidney from donor and prepares it for transplant in the recipient. Then, the surgeon connects the renal artery and vein of the new kidney to the recipient's artery and vein. This creates blood flow through the kidney, which makes urine. The urator, or tube coming down from the donor kidney, is sewn into the bladder. Usually, the new kidney will start working right away.

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

No. In case the transplant does not work the recipient can start or resume dialysis or pursue another transplant.

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

Yes. Living donor transplants last longer than deceased donor transplants because a living donor kidney is removed from a healthy donor and transplanted.

Which kind of transplant happens faster?

A living donor transplant happens faster if the living donor is available within one year, however, with a deceased donor transplant several patients have to wait for 3-5 years until a kidney is available is from a deceased donor.

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

Yes. Patients who have a transplant done live longer than the patients who stay on dialysis. The transplanted kidney works whole day to remove total waste from the body. Dialysis removes little amount of waste only when the dialysis machine works.