How Can I Find A Living Donor
To have a living donor kidney transplant, you will need to find someone who is willing and able to give you his or her kidney. A friend or family member might offer to give you one of his or her kidneys. Or you might have to take the first step and ask a friend or a family member if he or she would be willing to be a kidney donor. It can be difficult to know how to start a conversation about organ donation. The United Network for Organ Sharing has some useful tips on how to have these discussions.
Some people do not have a friend or family member who is willing and able to donate a kidney. Your transplant team may be able to help you find a donor that you do not know, or you may be able to participate in a paired kidney exchange.
Recovery After Transplant Surgery
Hospital recovery for a kidney transplant is usually 4-5 days if there are no complications. The length of stay depends on your medical condition and needs.
You’ll be in a specialized transplant care area for the duration of your hospital stay. You may be able to get out of bed the day after surgery. In rare instances, you may require a short stay in intensive care before you are moved to the specialized transplant care area.
Before you go home, we’ll give you information about your medications, lab tests and follow-up care.
We offer a variety of appointment types. or call to schedule now.
What Are The Symptoms Of Transplant Rejection
Transplant rejection often begins before you feel any changes. The routine blood tests that you have at the transplant center will reveal early signs of rejection. You may develop high blood pressure or notice swelling because your kidney isnt getting rid of extra salt and fluid in your body.
Your health care provider will treat early signs of rejection by adjusting your medicines to help keep your body from rejecting your new kidney.
Transplant rejection is becoming less common. However, your body may still reject the donor kidney, even if you do everything you should. If that happens, you may need to go on dialysis and go back on the waiting list for another kidney. Some people are able to get a second kidney transplant.
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What Tests Do I Need During The Evaluation Process
During your evaluation, the transplant team will complete urine and blood tests to assess your kidney function, blood chemistries, blood cell counts, liver function and exposures to infections such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and tuberculosis. An electrocardiogram needs to be performed to assess the heart. Chest X-ray and abdominal CT scan are the required imaging studies. Other tests such as heart exercise test and cancer screening might be required.
What Does A Full Evaluation Involve
Financial consultation Psychological evaluation Medical Tests
- Medical history. You will be asked to give a complete and thorough history of any illnesses, surgeries, and treatments youve had in the past. You will also be asked about your familys medical history. If any problems or abnormalities are found, they will be investigated further.
- Physical exam. You will be given a physical examination to make sure you are healthy enough to donate a kidney.
- Chest X-ray and electrocardiogram . These tests are done to check for heart or lung disease.
- Radiological testing. These tests allow physicians to look at your kidney, including its blood vessel supply.
- Urine testing. A 24-hour urine sample is collected to make sure you have good kidney function.If it is found that your kidney function is low, they will most likely advise against donation.
- Gynecological examination. Female donors may need to have a gynecological exam and mammography.
- Cancer screening. You may also be given some cancer screening tests, which may include a colonoscopy, prostate exam, and skin cancer screening.
Compatibility TestsOther Blood Tests
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How Does A Living Donor Kidney Transplant Work
Before you can have a living donor kidney transplant, you will need to have an evaluation at your transplant center. The evaluation will help the transplant team figure out if transplant is a good treatment option for you. You will also have tests that will help the doctors gather information about your kidneys, so that they can make sure your donors kidney is a good match for yours. Any person who wants to give you a kidney will also have these tests to find out if his or her kidney is a good match for you. A family member might be a match or you might have to look for a donor outside of your family.
If you find a living donor, you and your donor will both have surgery on the same day, in the same hospital. The donor will have surgery to take one of his or her kidneys out. You will have surgery to have the donors kidney put into your body.
What Are The Steps For Kidney Donor Evaluation Process
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What Are The Benefits Of Kidney Transplantation
A successful kidney transplant gives you increased strength, stamina, and energy. After transplantation, you should be able to return to a more normal lifestyle and have more control over your daily living. You can have a normal diet and more normal fluid intake.
If you were dependent on dialysis before the transplant, you’ll have more freedom because you won’t be bound to your dialysis schedules.
Does Living Donation Affect Life Expectancy
Living donation does not change life expectancy, and does not appear to increase the risk of kidney failure. In general, most people with a single normal kidney have few or no problems however, you should always talk to your transplant team about the risks involved in donation. Some studies report that living donors may have a greater chance of developing high blood pressure. It is recommended that potential donors consult with their doctor about the risks of living donation.
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Common Questions About Kidney Transplants
How long does the transplant surgery take? How long is the recovery?
The kidney transplant surgery typically lasts three to four hours. Most patients stay in the hospital for five to ten days while doctors monitor the new kidney and check for complications. Once out of the hospital, your transplant team will continue to monitor you closely for several weeks.
For the first two to four weeks of your recovery, you wont be able to drive or do any strenuous activity. After about two months, your doctors may allow you to be more active and return to work.
How painful is the kidney transplant surgery?
Youll be under a general anesthetic, so you wont feel any pain during the surgery itself. However, after the procedure, as your incision heals, youll likely feel very sore. The pain varies from patient to patient, but your doctors will prescribe you pain medication to help ensure youre comfortable.
How successful are kidney transplants?
The overwhelming majority of kidney transplant surgeries are successful. Around 90 percent of kidney transplant recipients across the country live for at least five years and only 25 percent need dialysis after surgery. Deceased donor kidneys last an average of 10 to 13 years and those from a living donor last 15 to 20 years.
How long can I expect to wait until a kidney becomes available?
If youre receiving a kidney from a living donor, it can take several months to make arrangements for the procedure.
Who Is On My Transplant Team
A successful transplant involves working closely with your transplant team. Members of the team include:
- Youyou are an important part of your transplant team.
- Your family membersthis may include your spouse, parents, children or any other family member you would like to involve.
- Transplant surgeonthe doctor who places the kidney in your body.
- Nephrologista doctor who specializes in kidney health and may work closely with a nurse practitioner or a physicians assistant.
- Transplant coordinatora specially trained nurse who will be your point of contact, arrange your appointments, and teach you what to do before and after the transplant.
- Pharmacista person who tells you about all your medicines, fills your prescriptions, and helps you avoid unsafe medicine combinations and side effects.
- Social workera person trained to help you solve problems in your daily life and coordinate care needs after your transplant.
- Dietitianan expert in food and nutrition who teaches you about the foods you should eat and avoid, and how to plan healthy meals.
Your transplant team will be able to provide the support and encouragement you need throughout the transplant process.
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Where Does Your New Kidney Come From
Kidneys for transplantation come from two sources: living donors and deceased donors. Living donors are usually immediate family members or sometimes spouses. Deceased donor kidneys usually come from people who have willed their kidneys before their death by signing organ donor cards. Permission for donation can also be given by the deceased person’s family at the time of death.
All donors are carefully screened to make sure there is a suitable match and to prevent any transmissible diseases or other complications.
How Does Living Donation Affect The Donor
People can live normal lives with only one kidney. As long as the donor is evaluated thoroughly and cleared for donation, he or she can lead a normal life after the surgery. When the kidney is removed, the single normal kidney will increase in size to compensate for the loss of the donated kidney.
Physical exercise is healthy and good for you. However, it’s important for someone with only one kidney to be careful and protect it from injury. Some doctors think it is best to avoid contact sports like football, boxing, hockey, soccer, martial arts, or wrestling. Wearing protective gear such as padded vests under clothing can help protect the kidney from injury during sports. This can help lessen the risk, but it won’t take away the risk. Talk to your healthcare provider if you want to join in contact sports.
Donors are encouraged to have good long-term medical follow-up with their primary care doctors. A urine test, a blood pressure check and a blood test for kidney function should be done every year.
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Why Dont Transplanted Organs Last A Lifetime
While transplanted organs can last the rest of your life, many dont. Some of the reasons may be beyond your control: low-grade inflammation from the transplant could wear on the organ, or a persisting disease or condition could do to the new organ what it did to the previous one. If youre young, odds are good youll outlive the transplanted organ.
Other factors that could affect the life of a transplanted organ include how long the organ was outside of a human body from the time the organ was procured from the donor and implanted into the recipient , whether the donor was living or deceased and the health of the recipient. And some organs are simply more vulnerable than otherslungs are more prone to infection because theyre in constant contact with the outside world, says Bryan A. Whitson, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon and the Ohio State Wexner Medical Centers lead lung transplant surgeon.
At the end of the day, were fighting biology, Diez says. We do a good job but, a lot of time, biology wins.
But you dont have to give up when your organ does. Retransplantationthat is, another transplant following a previous oneis possible and depends on the condition of the patient and how long its been since their last transplant. Retransplants are much more common with kidneys than organs such as the heart or lungs .
Get On The Waiting List
If your tests show you can have a transplant, your transplant center will add your name to the waiting list. Wait times can range from a few months to years. Most transplant centers give preference to people whove been on the waiting list the longest. Other factors, such as your age, where you live, and your blood type, may make your wait longer or shorter.
A transplant center can place you on the waiting list for a donor kidney if your kidney function is 20 or lesseven if you arent on dialysis. While you wait for a kidney transplant, you may need to start dialysis.
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How Do I Know If My Kidney Is A Match For The Recipient
The transplant team will check your blood type as well as the recipient blood type to see if they are compatible. A unique blood test also needs to be done which is called crossmatch.
It is possible that the recipient of the kidney has an allergy to the donated kidney so the recipient’s body may reject the donated kidney. Such allergy is due to some substances called antibodies which are present in the recipient’s blood. In order to make sure that the recipient does NOT have those antibodies against your kidney tissue, the crossmatch test is performed. Briefly, a sample of your blood is combined with a sample of the recipient’s blood. If the recipient has antibodies to the donor, this will cause a “positive” reactivity during the crossmatch test. This may mean your recipient is incompatible to you. In the case that you and your recipient are not compatible, you may participate in UCLA’s Kidney Exchange Program. This program allows the recipient and donor to enter a paired exchange registry, where the donor will donate to another recipient that is matched, and the recipient will recieve a matched kidney from a compatible donor in return.
Limit Your Exposure To Germs
Don’t have a large number of houseguests during the first 6-8 weeks after surgery. Ask family members and friends who may have colds or infections to stay away. Keep preschool children at arm’s length, especially if they are in daycare where other children may be sick or infected. Avoid eating from salad bars as they can harbor bacteria.
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An Example Of A Kidney Transplant Technique
After you have been put to sleep under anaesthetic, the surgery will begin.
Your own kidneys will usually be left where they are, unless they’re causing problems such as pain or infection. First, an incision is made in your lower abdomen , through which the donated kidney is put into place.
A kidney is usually transplanted into the right or left groin.
The blood vessels in your groin will be found, and joins will be made between the blood vessels of the kidney and your blood vessels. There is usually one join for the vein, and one join for the artery.
Blood flow through these vessels will be temporarily stopped while the stitching is being done.
Once the blood vessels have been stitched together, blood will be allowed to flow through the kidney and to your legs.
If the surgeon is happy with the blood flow, they will then make a join between the tube that carries urine from the kidney to your bladder. Usually, a short piece of soft plastic tubing is placed inside the ureter to help the connection to heal. The stent will be taken out several weeks after the surgery, which is a simple procedure.
After this, your groin and tummy muscles and skin are stitched back together.
How Long Will I Wait For A Living Donor Kidney Transplant
If you have a donor who is willing and able to give you a kidney, you can have your transplant as soon as both you and your donor are ready. Keep in mind that being ready for transplant sometimes depends on things that are out of your control, such as other health problems in either you or your donor. Talk to your transplant team to find out if there is anything you need to do to get ready for transplant.
If you do not have a donor, you may have to wait years for a transplant. The average waiting time for a is 3 to 5 years. A kidney from a deceased donor may become available before you find a living donor. You may look for a living donor while you wait for a deceased donor kidney and have your transplant using whichever kidney is available first.
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How Will I Find Out If A Kidney Is Available For Me
If a kidney becomes available from a deceased donor, you will get a phone call from the transplant center asking you to come to the hospital right away. It is therefore very important that you are always reachable by phone. If you intend to travel, tell your transplant team about your travel plans.
When you arrive at the hospital, you will have blood tests to make sure that the kidney is a good match for you. Sometimes people get to the hospital and, after having these tests, have to return home because the donor kidney is not a good match. The transplant could also be canceled if the doctors discover something wrong with the donor kidney. If you are called to the transplant center and then cannot have a transplant, try not to be discouraged. You might get another call soon!