For patients interested in learning more about transplant options, here are a few questions that may arise:
- What is a kidney transplant?
- Am I eligible to receive a transplant?
- Will I receive 2 kidneys as a transplant recipient?
- How long does a transplant last?
- How long is the wait to receive a transplant?
- How do I receive information on transplant options?
Many patients are surprised to learn that a kidney transplant is a procedure where a kidney from a deceased or living donor is inserted into the pelvic cavity and connected to the existing arteries and veins. In most cases the existing kidneys are not removed. After a successful transplant, dialysis may continue until such time that the new kidney begins to function properly, after which time you will be weaned off of dialysis and can resume a more normal life.
There are a variety of factors that impact a patient’s eligibility for placement on a transplant waiting list, such as life expectancy, the amount of time on dialysis and other considerations. If you are in relatively good health, a kidney transplant may be a good option for you, once you have been successfully screened by a transplant program, who will assess your current health status and lifestyle for clearance. Your transplant team will also review with you the terms of your insurance coverage as a transplant candidate.
Since just one kidney is needed to live a normal, productive life, a transplant involves one kidney. Kidney’s transplanted from living donors have been known to last 15-20 years, whereby kidney’s transplanted from deceased donors can last for 10-15 years. The key is to take good care of yourself and your kidney as best you can to increase the likelihood of your transplant lasting as long as possible. But don’t panic, if a transplant fails, patients can begin or return to dialysis and/or pursue another transplant if they desire.
The most immediate way to receive a transplant is to have a living donor available. Absent that you can be placed on a transplant program’s waiting list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor, someone who has just died. Patients are permitted to register with multiple transplant centers, which can potentially decrease the length of time they must wait for a transplant, as waiting lists vary by length depending on the location of the transplant program. How long you’ll have to wait can also depend on other things such as your blood type, the degree of matching between you and donors and the amount of time you have been on dialysis.
If you are interested in learning more about transplant programs, our CKS physicians are equipped to refer you to a transplant program that fits your needs in terms of insurance, geographic location and financial considerations.