A kidney transplant refers to a surgical procedure in which a healthy kidney from another individual, who can be living or deceased, is placed in an individual whose kidneys are no longer functioning properly.
What are Kidneys?
Kidneys are organs which are bean-shaped and placed on either side of the human spine below the rib-cage. The size of these organs is about the size of a fist and whose primary function is filtration and removal of waste materials from the body. The waste products are separated from the body and expelled through urine.
When the kidneys lose their ability to filter the waste products, it results in the build-up of harmful waste in the body. This raises blood pressure and results in kidney failure which is also known as end-stage kidney failure, i.e. when the organs have lot nearly 90% of their ability to perform the desired function.
According to the best hospitals for kidney transplant in Delhi, some of the common causes of kidney disease are –
• Polycystic kidney disease
• Very high and uncontrolled blood pressure
• Chronic glomerulonephritis – a condition in which the filters in the kidney get inflamed
Those patients whose kidneys are no longer working properly need to have their waste removed from the bloodstream using a machine. This process is known as dialysis and helps in keeping the patient alive.
There are three types of kidney transplants which are –
• Pre-emptive kidney transplant
• Living-donor kidney transplant, and
• Deceased-donor kidney transplant
Which of these would be opted for depends on the medical history of the patient along with the current circumstances. However, the objective remains the same and that is to treat the kidney to prolong and provide a better quality of life.
Some of the benefits of kidney transplant are –
• Better quality of life
• Lower chances of death
• Lower cost of treatment
• Lesser dietary restrictions
Many individuals tend to benefit from a kidney transplant more as opposed to dialysis. Owing to the benefits many patients are given a kidney transplant before going for dialysis, a process which is also known as a preemptive kidney transplant.
However, there are certain conditions in which dialysis is a better option than a kidney transplant. These are –
• Advanced age
• Severe heart disease
• Alcohol or drug abuse
• Active or recently treated cancer
• Dementia or poorly controlled mental illness
• Any other cause which can have a detrimental effect on the transplant to be conducted and the medications to be taken after the procedure to prevent organ rejection
If both the kidneys have failed, then only one kidney is needed and this makes it possible to receive a kidney from a living donor. However, if the kidney from a living donor is not a match, then the patient has to wait until a matching donor is found. The time taken to find a new donor will depend on the level of compatibility between the donor and the patient, the time spent on dialysis and expected survival level after the transplant. This is why while some people may find a donor in months, others have to wait for years.