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FAQs -for Kidney Transplants

By Dr. Waheed Zaman in Urology , Kidney Transplant

Apr 28 , 2015 | 1 min read

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 for transplant (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

  • The current life expectancy of fewer 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.