WHAT ARE THE TWO KINDS OF TRANSPLANTS?
Kidneys for transplant may come from a person who has died (a deceased donor), or from a healthy living person like a family member or a friend who offers to donate a kidney (a living donor).
WHO CANNOT GET A KIDNEY TRANSPLANT?
Many patients assume they are too old for transplant but if you are otherwise healthy, age is not a factor in determining your transplant eligibility. However, there are some other factors that prevent patients from getting a kidney transplant
- Current life expectancy of less than 5 years
- Recent cancer (other than most skin cancers)
- Uncorrectable heart disease
- Untreatable 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
You and your transplant doctor will discuss your eligibility during the transplant evaluation process.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GET A TRANSPLANT?
In general, the sooner you get a kidney transplant, the better. The transplant team and your nephrologists will determine the best time for you.
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF MY KIDNEY TRANSPLANT DIDN'T WORK? WOULD I DIE?
No, if the transplant doesn't work, you can:
- Start or resume dialysis
- Pursue another transplant
WHAT CAN PATIENTS DO IF THEY WANT A TRANSPLANT BUT DON'T HAVE A LIVING DONOR?
Patients who do not have a living donor can wait to get a deceased donor 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 in the operating room and transplanted right away. Living donor transplants last on average for 15-20 years and deceased donor transplants last for 10-15 years. Some transplants have been known to last much longer.
CAN A PERSON LIVE LONGER WITH A TRANSPLANT COMPARED TO STAYING ON DIALYSIS?
Yes. Patients who have a transplant generally live longer than patients who stay on dialysis. The transplanted kidney works 24 hours a day to remove 50-85% of the total waste your body generates. Dialysis on the other hand only removes 15% of total waste and only when on the dialysis machine.
HOW LONG DOES A TRANSPLANTED KIDNEY LAST?
Kidney transplants have a success rate of more than 95 percent. Living donor transplants last for an average of 15-20 years and deceased donor transplants last for 10-15 years. If a transplant fails, a patient can begin or return to dialysis and/ or pursue another transplant.