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Kidney Transplant for Kidney Failure

April 5, 2022 In Kidney Failure

Kidney disease is a serious medical condition. Without functioning kidneys, waste products will build up in your blood, leading to life-threatening complications. Most patients receive dialysis to treat kidney failure, a treatment that filters blood using a machine called a dialyzer or a special fluid placed in your belly.

Some people with kidney failure can receive a kidney transplant. During this procedure, a healthy kidney from a donor is placed into your body. While this treatment can be lifesaving, it can be a lengthy process. If you want a kidney transplant, it is important to speak with your doctor about your options.

What Is a Kidney Transplant?

The kidneys are two small organs that filter waste from your body. During a kidney transplant, a healthy donor kidney will be placed in your body. While we are born with two kidneys, the body can function using one. Unless your kidneys are cancerous, cause high blood pressure, or pose another health risk to you, the damaged organs can stay in your body. 

Your kidney may come from a person who is recently deceased or from a living person. It can take years to receive a kidney from the deceased donor list due to significant organ shortages. In some cases, patients ask a living donor, such as a friend, family member, or even a stranger, to donate a kidney.

The Long-Term Impact of a Kidney Transplant

With a transplanted kidney, you no longer need to attend dialysis sessions. The organ should be able to effectively filter out waste on its own. However, it is important to remember that a kidney transplant is not a cure for kidney disease. 

After surgery, you will need to take daily immunosuppressing medications to ensure that your body does not reject the donated kidney. You will also need to visit your doctor regularly to ensure that the organ is healthy and functioning as normal.

The Kidney Transplant Process

The kidney transplant process involves several important steps. You will first need to speak with your medical provider, visit a transplant center, and undergo surgery as soon as a donor’s kidney is available. 

Speak to Your Medical TeamSpeak to Your Medical Team

The first step to receiving a kidney transplant is to speak with your doctor. A kidney transplant is not the right procedure for everyone. In some cases, you may be too unhealthy to undergo surgery, especially if you have any of the following conditions.

  • Active or recent cancer
  • An untreatable or persistent infection
  • A serious health condition like heart disease
  • Severe obesity
  • A terminal illness
  • Drug or alcohol dependency
  • Dementia

Your doctor will assess your condition and determine if you are a good candidate for a kidney transplant. If possible, your doctor will also recommend steps to help you improve your health for surgery, such as quitting smoking. Then, your medical team will refer you to a transplant center. 

Visit a Transplant Center

Next, you will need to visit a transplant center and be evaluated by specialists. You will undergo a series of tests to confirm whether you are a good candidate for transplant and understand how to care for yourself following the procedure. This process can take several visits over a span of a few weeks to months. 

Some of the most common types of tests at a transplant center include the following.

  • Blood tests
  • Tests to check your heart or other organs
  • Mental health evaluations
  • Tests to check for cancer
  • Substance abuse assessments

Sign Up for the Transplant Waiting List

If your transplant team believes that you are a good candidate for a kidney transplant, they will add your name to the organ donation waiting list. Because there is a shortage of healthy organs for donation, it can take a few months to years to receive a healthy kidney. 

Usually, transplant centers prioritize patients who have life-threatening conditions or have been on the list for the longest time. If you have a living donor, you will not be placed on this list. 

While waiting for a match, you will need to visit the transplant center for monthly blood tests. The transplant center will need a recent blood sample to match you with any available kidneys. 

Undergo Cross-Matching

If you are a good match for a donor’s kidney, or if you have a friend or family who wants to donate a kidney, you will undergo a process called cross-matching. During this process, the transplant team will test the donor’s blood against your blood and predict whether your body will reject the donated kidney. You can schedule your transplant if cross-matching is successful.

Before a friend or family member can donate a kidney, he or she will also need a health exam. If the tests prove that he or she is healthy enough to be a donor, you will be scheduled for surgery.

Attend Kidney Transplant Surgery

Finally, you will undergo your kidney transplant surgery. If you are on a donor list and are matched with a kidney, you will need to attend the surgery as soon as possible. If you are receiving a kidney from a living donor, you can schedule the transplant for a time that works for you and your donor.

Kidney transplant surgery usually takes around three to four hours. During this procedure, the surgeon will place you under general anesthesia and place a healthy kidney in your body. If you have a donor, the surgery will occur side by side. 

Aftercare for Kidney Transplant Patients

Following your surgery, you may feel better right away. However, it could take a few days for the new kidney to start functioning. You will need to stay in the hospital while you are recovering.

Once you are healthy enough to leave the hospital, your medical team will provide you with a treatment schedule. You will need to take immunosuppressants and other medications, such as antibiotics, to protect your body from rejecting the kidney and prevent conditions like infections. 

Speak to an Attorney About Your Kidney Transplant Case

Kidney transplants can be expensive and invasive surgeries. In some cases, defective and dangerous medications cause serious kidney damage to the point where patients require transplants. 

If you developed kidney failure after taking a medication linked to kidney disease, you may be eligible for financial compensation to pay for this treatment. Contact a Zantac lawyer with experience representing defective drug lawsuits as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.