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What exactly is Kidney transplant?

A kidney transplant is a type of surgery that involves the placement of a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor into an individual whose kidneys no longer function properly. By producing urine, the kidneys filter and remove waste, minerals, and fluid from the blood. When kidneys lose their ability to filter, harmful levels of fluid and waste build up in the body, which can lead to high blood pressure and kidney failure. End-stage renal disease requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

What are the basic types of Kidney Transplant?

They are mainly divided into two types:

 Deceased- donor kidney transplant

A deceased-donor kidney transplant occurs when a kidney from a recently deceased person is removed with the consent of the family or from a donor card and transplanted into a patient whose kidneys have failed and are no longer functioning properly needs kidney transplantation.

Only one donated kidney is required to meet the body’s needs. The donated kidney is either kept on ice or plugged up to a machine that supplies oxygen and nutrients until it is transplanted into the recipient. To minimize the time the kidney is outside a human body, the donor and recipient are frequently in the same geographic region as the transplant center.

When compared to a lifetime of dialysis, kidney transplant has a lower risk of death, a higher quality of life, and fewer dietary restrictions. The health risks associated with kidney transplantation include those directly related to the surgery, rejection of the donor organ, and the side effects of taking immunosuppressive medications required to prevent your body from rejecting the donated kidney. These dangers include increased infection rates and some types of cancer.

Blood and tissue type matching, as well as the length of time the candidate has been on the waiting list, are factors used in matching deceased-donor kidneys. Some people find a match within a few months, while others may have to wait several years. You will have periodic health checks while on the list to ensure that you are still a viable candidate for transplantation.

Living- donor kidney transplant

A living-donor kidney transplant involves the removal of a kidney from a living donor and transplanting it into a recipient whose kidneys are no longer functional. A living-donor kidney transplant typically involves a donated kidney from a family member, friend, or coworker. Family members who are genetically related are more likely to be compatible living kidney donors.

Your living kidney donor and you will both be evaluated to see if the donor’s organ is a good match for you. In general, your blood and tissue types must match those of the donor.

Because only one donated kidney is required to replace two failed kidneys, living-donor kidney transplant is a viable alternative to deceased-donor kidney transplant.

Some of the benefits of a living-donor kidney transplant:

  1. Less time spent on a waiting list, which may prevent complications and deterioration of the recipient’s health.
  2. Dialysis may be avoided if it has not already begun.
  3. Improved short- and long-term survival rates

What is the importance of kidney transplant?

When compared to a lifetime on dialysis, a kidney transplant is frequently the treatment of choice for kidney failure. A kidney transplant can help you feel better and live longer if you have chronic kidney disease or end-stage renal disease.

In comparison to dialysis, kidney transplantation is associated with:

  1. Improved life quality
  2. Lower death risk
  3. Fewer dietary constraints  
  4. Reduced treatment costs

Risk associated with Kidney transplant?

Transplantation of kidneys can treat advanced kidney disease and kidney failure, but it is not a cure. Some types of kidney disease may recur after transplantation. The risks of a kidney transplant include those associated with surgery and donor organ rejection. Risks include the side effects of anti-rejection medications (immunosuppressants) used to keep the body from rejecting the donated kidney. Whether or not a kidney transplant is right for you is a personal decision that requires careful consideration of the serious risks and benefits.

Kidney transplant surgery carries a high risk of serious complications, which include:

  • Bleeding and blood clots
  • Leakage from or obstruction of the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder (ureter)
  • Infection
  • Donated kidney failure or rejection
  • An infection or cancer that could be transmitted by the donated kidney
  • Death, heart attack, and stroke are all possibilities.

What can you expect prior to the transplant procedure?

Finding a compatible match, the donor can be deceased or alive, related or unrelated to you.

Certain tests will be performed to determine whether a donated kidney is suitable for you.

Blood Typing: It is preferable to receive a kidney transplant from a donor whose blood type matches or is compatible with yours. Transplants involving incompatible blood types are also possible. However, additional medical treatment before and after the transplant will be required to reduce the risk of organ rejection. ABO incompatible kidney transplants are what they’re called.

Tissue Typing: Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing will be performed on you to determine if your blood type is compatible. In this test, genetic markers that improve the likelihood that a transplanted kidney will last a long time are compared. A good match means your body is less likely to reject the organ.

Crossmatch: In the third and final matching test, in the lab, a small sample of your blood is mixed with the donor’s blood. The test determines whether your blood antibodies will react to specific antigens in the donor’s blood. A negative crossmatch indicates that they are compatible and that your body will not reject the donor kidney as easily. Positive crossmatch kidney transplants are also possible, but they necessitate additional medical care both before and after the transplant to minimize the possibility of your antibodies reacting to the donor organ.

What experiences have you encountered during a transplant procedure?

Kidney transplants are carried out under general anesthesia, so the recipient is unconscious during the operation. Throughout the procedure, your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level are monitored by the surgical team. Some steps are noted below:

  • In the lower abdomen, the surgeon makes an incision on one side and inserts the new kidney into the patient’s body. They are left in place unless they are resulting in complications like elevated blood pressure, kidney stones, pain, or infection.
  • The new kidney’s blood vessels are connected to blood vessels in the lower abdomen, just above one of your legs.
  • The ureter of the new kidney, which connects the kidney to the bladder.

What experiences do you encounter after the transplant procedure is done?

After transplant is done what following things you can expect:

  • Stay in the hospital for several days to a week. Doctors and nurses will keep an eye on your status in the hospital’s transplant recovery center for any signs of complications. When recovering, you should expect tenderness or pain around the incision site. After eight weeks of their transplant, the majority of kidney transplant recipients can return to work and other typical activities.
  • Maintain regular checkups while you recuperate. When you leave the hospital, you must be closely monitored for a few weeks to ensure that your new kidney is operating properly and that your body is not rejecting it. In the weeks following your transplant, you may need to have blood tests many times per week and have your medications changed.
  • Continue to take drugs for the rest of your life. Following your kidney transplant, you will be required to take a number of medications. Immunosuppressive medications assist in preventing your immune system from attacking and rejecting your new kidney. Other medications can lower the chance of issues such as infection following your transplant.

What is the outcome of a transplant?

You will no longer require dialysis because your new kidney will filter your blood after you’ve had a successful transplant. Medications to suppress the immune system are required to keep the body from dismissing the donated kidney. Your doctor may also recommend antibiotics, antiviral drugs, and antifungal drugs because your body will be more susceptible to infection while using anti-rejection drugs. Always follow your doctor’s instructions when taking medication. If you stop taking your medications, even for a short time, your body may begin to reject your replacement kidney. If you are experiencing adverse effects from your drugs, please contact your transplant team right away.

What diet and nutrition should you follow after kidney transplant?

A nutrition specialist (dietitian) on your transplant team can explain your nutrition and diet needs and answer any questions you have following your transplant. Some of your drugs may boost your appetite and make weight gain more difficult. But, in order to lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, transplant recipients must achieve and maintain a healthy weight through food and exercise just like everyone else.

Your dietician will also present you with a variety of healthy food selections and nutrition plan ideas. Following a kidney transplant, your nutritionist may recommend:

  • At least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  • Grapefruit and grapefruit juice should be avoided due to its influence on a class of immunosuppressive drugs (calcineurin inhibitors)
  • Getting adequate fiber in your diet on a regular basis
  • Consuming low-fat milk or other low-fat dairy products is essential for maintaining healthy calcium and phosphorus levels.
  • Consumption of lean meats, poultry, and seafood
  • Adopting a low-salt, low-fat diet

Drinking plenty of water and other fluids to stay hydrated.

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