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Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs in the renal system. They help the body to pass the waste as urine; they also help filter bloods before sending it back to the heart.
Kidneys perform many crucial functions, including:
- Maintaining overall fluid balance.
- Regulating and filtering minerals from blood.
- Filtering waste materials from food, medications and toxic substances.
- Creating hormones that help produce red blood cells promote bone health and regulate blood pressure.
What is Kidney Transplant?
kidney transplants are often recommended to patients with end-stage renal diseases. In this procedure, a healthy donor kidney is transplanted into the body of a patient who is suffering from renal failure.
There are typically two types of donors. In India a living donor must be a family member or blood relative willing to give a kidney to the patient in needs. An individual needs only one healthy kidney to survive. Patient can also acquire a kidney from a deceased donor who has recently passed on.
Indications that a patient requires kidney transplant:
The most common indication for kidney transplantation is end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Regardless of the primary cause of this disease, a patient is considered to have arrived at this stage when the glomerular filtration range is less than 15ml/min/1.73 m2. Common causes of ESRD include –
- Malignant hypertension.
- Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
- Polycystic kidney disease.
- Inborn errors of metabolism.
Type II diabetes is the most common known cases of ESRD. In most cases a patient will be on dialysis at the time of transplant.
Before you undergo a kidney transplant, you would be required to undergo a few tests to assess how well the donor kidney matches you blood and tissue type. Make sure that you have a close tissue match helps improve the chances of your body accepting the new organ.
In addition to this, you will also be asked to undergo a few tests that ensure your heart and lungs are free of diseases and have not significant risk of cancers and other conditions that reduce your life expectancy.
Kidney transplant procedure takes about 3 to 4 hours. In the procedure the donor kidney will be placed in your lower abdomen and the blood vessels from the donor kidney will be connected to the veins and arteries in your body. Furthermore, the ureter from the donor kidney will also be connected to your bladder. This allows the blood to flow through the new kidney, allowing it to start doing its job of filtering and removing waste as well as to produce urine.
Your new kidney will begin to function right away. In most cases the damaged or diseased kidney is not removed unless there is a risk of or a pre-existing infection. The organ may also be removed if you have kidney cancer, very large polycystic kidneys or nephrotic syndrome.
After the transplant, you will have to spend several days in the hospital. Here are a few things to be expected during these days:
- In some cases, it takes some time for the new kidney to start producing urine. Hence, you may have to undergo dialysis and consume diuretics to help your body lose of excess water and salt.
- You will also be asked to take medicines that suppress your immune system. This helps prevent a rejection of your new kidney.
- During the initial weeks or months of your surgery, your body may try to reject your new kidney. Less than 20% of transplant cases experience such acute rejections. Ant rejection medicines can help treat this in most cases.
- Chronic rejection or chronic allograft failure refers to a progressive loss of kidney function that may take several months or even years, while there is little understanding of the causes of such rejection, there is no treatment for this outcome of your transplant.