When kidneys stop working effectively, you either have an option of a dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis ensures that you get rid of the waste products from your body but it does not replace all the functions of the kidneys. When you are diagnosed with failing kidneys, treatment can sometimes prevent or at least delay their complete failure.
However, with a transplant, your body can continuously remove the waste products of metabolism, and excess fluid. Kidneys also help in the production of a natural hormone called erythropoietin that prevents anemia. It also helps convert the vitamin D in food into an active compound that helps keep bones healthy. Moreover, it helps excretion of some toxic drugs. Finally, it plays an important role in helping control blood pressure.
Kidneys normally undertake all these functions. It is a known fact that kidney transplant provides patients with a better quality of life than dialysis.
Assessment for kidney transplant
There are a few very important factors to be checked before you undergo kidney transplant surgery. To begin with, you will be referred to transplant only when you are nearing or have started dialysis.
- There is no dependency on age factor or ethnic background when it comes to assessment for a transplant. It all depends on whether you are fit enough to have the operation and deal with all the after effects of the surgery.
- Some of the factors checked are evidence of heart disease, chest conditions and other problems. Special investigations are conducted to assess whether these risk factors are too great for transplant.
- Next there will be a thorough discussion between the specialists such as the surgeons, nephrologist, cardiologist and the physician before the decision is finalized.
- Once you are considered fit enough for a transplant, the specialists will explain all the risks and benefits to you.
- Many times there is a waiting list for a transplant.
- There will be a number of tests conducted to check whether you have had certain virus infections.
- Well, the specialists will also ask you whether you have any close friends or family who are willing to be live donors.
- Live donor transplants are known to give the kidneys a better chance of long term survival as compared to diseased donor transplants.
Whether you receive a particular donor kidney or not is determined initially by the blood group. It is pretty difficult to get two people to be perfectly alike, because the genes are different. It is however possible to achieve a good enough match for a successful transplant. The surgery takes around three hours and appropriate care needs to be taken post operation too.