A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure to place a healthy kidney from a live or deceased
donor into a person whose kidneys no longer function properly.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located on either side of the spine just below the rib
cage. Each one is about the size of a fist. Their main function is to filter and remove excess
waste, minerals and fluid from the blood by producing urine.
When your kidneys lose this filtering ability, harmful levels of fluid and waste accumulate in your body, which can raise your blood pressure and result in kidney failure (end-stage renal disease, which is also known as end-stage kidney disease). End-stage renal disease occurs when the kidneys have lost about 90 percent of their ability to function normally.
Common causes of end-stage renal disease include:
- Chronic, uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Chronic glomerulonephritis — an inflammation and eventual scarring of the tiny filters within
- your kidneys (glomeruli)
- Polycystic kidney disease
- People with end-stage renal disease need to have waste removed from their bloodstream via a
- machine (dialysis) or a kidney transplant to stay alive.
- Deceased-donor kidney transplant
- Living-donor kidney transplant
- Pre-emptive kidney transplant
A kidney transplant is often the treatment of choice for kidney failure compared to a lifetime on
dialysis. A kidney transplant can treat chronic kidney disease with glomerular filtration rate
(GFR, a measure of kidney function) less than or equal to 20 ml/min and end-stage renal
disease to help you feel better and live longer.
- Better quality of life
- Lower risk of death
- Fewer dietary restrictions
- Lower treatment cost
- Some people may also benefit from receiving a kidney transplant before needing to go on
dialysis, a procedure known as preemptive kidney transplant.
But for certain people with kidney failure, a kidney transplant may be more risky than dialysis. Conditions that may prevent you from being eligible for a kidney transplant include:
- Advanced age
- Severe heart disease
- Active or recently treated cancer
- Poorly controlled
- mental illness
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Any other factor that could affect their ability to safely undergo the procedure and take the medications needed to prevent organ rejection Only one donated kidney is needed to replace two failed kidneys, making living-donor kidney transplantation an option.