What is a kidney transplant? Why is it important for the ones who are having a deceased kidney? How much does it cost to complete the transplant? There is a common question that everyone has in their mind when they are thinking about kidney transplants.
So, in this article, we will answer all the questions in a detailed manner and, this will help you have complete knowledge of this kidney surgery.
A kidney transplant is one of the surgeries that a human body can undergo. It is the process of replacing an old and diseased kidney with a healthy kidney. As there are no artificial kidneys available as of now, the healthy kidney is donated by someone who is willing to donate to the recipient and also has an eligible rate of goodness in his or her kidney.
A patient doesn’t need to get his two kidneys transplanted under kidney Transplantation, because a human body can maintain its functioning and metabolism with the help of just a single kidney. Let us see why the kidney is important and what is the actual functioning of a kidney.
Why is the kidney important for balance?
Every part of our body has its significance. And if one part doesn’t work correctly, the other will affect it. It is more like a clock in which all the three hands are interconnected. If one hand stops working, the other two will eventually rest.
There are a few organs of which we can live, even though they don’t function. They are hands, legs, eyes, and fingers. Simultaneously, if few won’t work, we won’t live. They may be your heart, liver, intestine, lungs, or kidney.
The kidney is a bean-shaped organ that is present just below your abdomen but to the backside. Its work is to filter excess water, waste products, and other impurities present in your blood. These leftovers are put away in your bladder and later removed through pee.
Let us know about kidney transplants in the next sessions of this article.
What are the major functions of the Kidney?
Your kidneys are likewise liable for actuating a type of nutrient D that assists your body with retaining calcium for building bones and managing muscle work.
Moreover, your kidney is responsible for controlling pH, salt, and potassium levels in your body. They likewise produce chemicals that direct the circulatory system and control the creation of red platelets.
Keeping up with kidney wellbeing is essential to your general wellbeing and general prosperity. By keeping your kidneys well equipped, your body will channel and remove squander appropriately and produce chemicals to help your body work properly.
Let us see whether a kidney transplant can save a life if kidneys are damaged.
What is kidney failure?
Kidney failure is a significant general wellbeing concern. Kidney disease frequently goes undetected until it is exceptionally getting worse. Shockingly, this is the point at which somebody would require an artificial treatment or a transfer.
The key is to discover kidney sickness before the difficulty begins. Routine testing for everybody is essential; however, it is particularly significant for individuals in danger.
Is kidney Failure non-curable?
No, kidney failure is not permanent, as there is a better option namely kidney Transplant.
Usually, however, now no longer always. Some types of acute kidney failure, additionally called acute renal failure, get higher after treatment. In a few instances of acute kidney failure, Dialysis might also be wanted for a quick time until the kidneys get higher.
In continual or stop degree kidney failure, your kidneys no longer get higher, and you may want shorter treatment for the relaxation of your life. If your physician says you’re a candidate, you could select to be located on a ready listing for a brand new kidney.
But one major thing that needs to be noted is that artificial kidney treatment won’t help cure kidney failure; it just does the function of the kidney artificially.
What happens in Kidney Transplants?
A kidney transplant is a surgery where an unhealthy kidney is replaced with a healthy kidney. The healthy kidney is called the donor’s kidney, and the patient kidney is called the recipient’s kidney.
A donor can donate one of his kidneys if both of his kidneys are working properly. The glomerular rate of the healthy kidney is checked before it is announced as a healthy one.
This Kidney Transplant is done in the hospital under the guidance of a kidney specialist. The surgery takes a minimum of 3-5 hours to complete. And to date, the success rate recorded for this surgery is 86% which is the highest among the surgeries.
After the new kidney is connected to the blood vessels and the bladder of the patient, a kidney transplant is known to be complete. The new kidney starts functioning immediately after the connection is done. Though the surgery sounds so simple, it is also very important to take care while performing.
A wrong blood vessel connection or misplacement of a kidney may result in severe health issues for the patient. So, the kidney transplant is done under the supervision of a senior doctor who has specialized himself in kidney study.
How long can one live on a Kidney Transplant?
Some people have survived just on Dialysis for 20-30 years, but that is in the olden days. The maximum time a person can stay on this treatment has fallen to 5-10 years in recent times. And this may vary based on the other medical conditions of the individual, like blood pressure and diabetes.
Though the process is comfortable, it won’t feel good in the long run. So, we can conclude that your life expectancy is lowered if you are in a stage where your kidney won’t function properly.
To not let this happen, you should take precautions such as keeping a balance of your body sugar and blood pressure. These two are the significant things that affect kidney health. It is also prescribed to include fiber in your diet as this may help in proper functioning.
Surprisingly, a kidney transplant offers a life till the body can sustain itself, this is about the best outcome of the surgery.
How can we know whether donor and recipient kidneys match?
Prior to a kidney transplant, you are required to go for a blood test as well as an antigen test. The former reveals your blood type while the letter tells about your human leukocyte antigen. These antigens are present over the surface of white blood cells and are mainly responsible for the body’s immune system.
These antigens are six in number, which are acquired from parents equally, three from each parent. If the HLA of the donor and the HLA of the recipient match, then there are more chances that this might become a successful kidney transplant. If all the six antigens match with the donor, then it is called the perfect match.
In addition to this, there should be mismatched in terms of antibodies. To test this, a small amount of blood from donor and recipient is mixed, and if the mixture doesn’t produce antibodies, then it is a green signal for the transplant. In medical terms, it is called the ‘negative crossmatch’.
What are the complications of Kidney Transplants?
A kidney Transplant is definitely better than treating a kidney daily in artificial methods, but it is not the complete cure. There are still drawbacks to this kidney transplant. Let us know what are the issues that may arrive after this surgery?
- Blood clots: As this is a surgery which involves opening of blood vessels, there may be a frequent problem of blood clots. A clot can do a lot more damage than kidney failure does. If you feel anything like a stuck in your body parts, then it is a must to visit the doctor.
- Leakage of blood or Urine: Once the healthy kidney is inserted into the body, the existing blood vessels are connected to the kidney. But, sometimes the connection may get loose, or it may fail. At times, there will be outflow of blood or blockage of blood. This is one of the major limitations of Kidney Transplant, but can be avoided when taken good care while performing the surgery.
- Though the kidney is healthy at the time of transplant, it may become deceased after the surgery. If this happens, it will be very difficult to do the transplant again.
- Sometimes, when the kidney is transmitted, there may be other infections also. Cancer is one of the major things that can be transmitted during this transplant.
- In some cases, the kidney doesn’t match with the body of the patient. When this happens, there will be a major rejection of the kidney from the body. The purpose of the transplant fails here. As discussed earlier, it is very important to know the genes of two kidneys, both the old one and the new one, and then proceed to the transplant.
These are the major complications anyone may face while going for a kidney transplant. It would be best if these points are checked twice before proceeding with the surgery.
How to keep kidneys healthy, naturally?
Even though a kidney transplant is a better option available, having our own healthy kidney would result in a quality life. So, why should we try to touch leaves after getting our hands burned? We should take precautions not to get our health damaged.
Here are some best precautions that are generally given to maintain the kidney functioning up to the mark.
- Watch your weight and eat everything healthy.
There is a concept called BMI (Body Mass Index) which is a scale that will decide the ideal weight a person should possess in a match with his height and age. When your weight matches with the other physical things, there are more chances that you will be healthy as the functioning of other organs will be efficient for a less fatty body.
The moment more fat accumulates in your body, it is the start of your journey towards ill health. Eating healthy food makes your whole body healthy. Healthy food, in a sense, is the food that our body indeed requires. It is always the protein content that should be more than the intake of carbohydrates. Watch what you eat, then it will watch your health in a good way.
2. Maintain body sugar
Diabetic is a condition in which your body contains excess glucose that is required. When this condition occurs in your body, the glucose included in the pumped blood will no longer be observed by the cells. This makes the glucose rest in the blood itself. So when the blood comes to filter to the kidney, it will force the kidney to work harder to remove the glucose from the blood as a waste product.
This will burden the kidney as it needs to work for more time than usual. This may lead to kidney damage. It is seen to happen in 1/7 of the individuals who are having diabetics. So people with diabetes are suggested to control their body sugar.
3. Maintain a correct rate of blood pressure.
The average rate of blood pressure is 80/120. A reading of 120/140 is also considered healthy. But something that is more than is not a good sign. When your blood pressure is high, it will make the kidney work harder, and also there are more chances that it may get damaged.
The kidney is also like any other body part or anything that functions. If the workload on it is more, it starts to degrade in its functioning.
4. Take a good amount of water.
You might have heard people telling you to take 5 liters of water in a day. This is so true. Because the more amount of water you take, the easier it will be for your kidney to remove the impurities. Because on average, the waste product accumulation will be less in more fluids and will be very easy for a kidney to work.
5. Exercise and be fit.
Exercise is a blessing that you can give to your body. It is a one-stop solution for almost all the problems that occur to your body. When you let your body move, you are allowing the organs to work better.
Whether a walk for 30 minutes or cardio five times a week, make sure you exercise and be fit.
Apart from these, do not smoke. Smoking damages your blood vessels and, eventually, kidneys. Also, be aware of the external medicines you take; sometimes, they can damage your organs.
If you are 60 or more, then it is advisable to get your kidneys tested from time to time.
Your health is completely in your hands and is your responsibility to keep it healthy.
FAQS about Kidney Transplant
- Who can undergo a kidney Transplant?
There are a lot of aspects doctors will check when you want to undergo kidney transplantation. They may include your physical health, mental health, and other health conditions like your blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
To check whether you are eligible for a kidney transplant or not, you need to go through an evaluation that is usually given by all the given institutes. Once your doctor will check the result of the evaluation, then he will be giving you the right advice. Also, your willingness to go to the transplantation matters before everything. Once everything is okay, you can go for a kidney transplant under proper medical guidance.
- What are all the pre-requirements that are needed for a kidney transplant?
There are a few things required if your doctor has suggested you go for a kidney transplant. Generally, doctors won’t prefer this treatment unless you have advanced kidney disease or complete kidney dysfunction. After you have decided on the treatment, then you need to do the following things.
- Visit the kidney evaluation center and get your medical efficiencies checked. They should approve your condition before you proceed to other steps.
- You need to be a drug free person.
- You need to be an alcohol free person, or at least you should stop taking alcohol one month before the treatment starts.
- You should not have any psychiatric disorder or mental health issues.
- Life threatening diseases such as cancer, should not be a part of your body.
And also kidney transplant is commonly preferred over dialysis if you have chronic irreversible kidney disease or complete destruction of both the kidneys that your body owns.
- Where to find a living kidney donor?
A living kidney donor is someone who is alive and is willing to donate one of the two kidneys that a person owns. It is a well-known fact that a person can live for more years with just a single kidney. But a few will be afraid that they may not survive properly if they do not have a kidney, which is not true.
So, it will be good for anyone with two healthy kidneys to donate one to someone who is in need of it. First of all, you can ask any of your family members, friends, or acquaintances. If none of them are ready to help you with a living kidney, then you can go for a few transplantation centers which were established to give free service in providing kidneys to the ones who need them for plantation.
If you couldn’t find it there also, then you may need to go to a few transplantation institutes which sell kidneys, absolutely for higher prices. In the era of this virtual world, you can easily find a donor on a few selected websites. A few websites are designed by the government and some non-government organizations to give the donor for someone in need of a kidney.
- How much does it cost to complete a kidney transplant?
The money that you need to spend on the treatment of kidney transplantation may vary depending on various causes.
If you get a free donor, then the cost will be very less. If you go for a funding hospital or kidney transplant center for your treatment, then it won’t cost you anything and you don’t need to spend even a single penny. If any of the patients or the donor has the insurance level, then the price of treatment may result in higher rates.
But on average, it would cost a person at least three lakhs to complete the process of treatment, and also it may even price you over 5 lakhs. If you haven’t got a kidney for free, then you need to pay more. It is no wonder even if it can take up to ten lakhs of money from your pockets. Everyone’s suggestion would be to go for free transplantation centers and the kidney in a complementary way, not in a difficult way.
- What is the process of Kidney Transplant? Can you explain the complete process and what are all the things that the patient needs to undergo?
A patient needs to go through a few things in order to complete their treatment of kidney transplantation. The first thing will be giving anesthesia. This is done because the patient should be asleep for the complete process. After this, the surgeon needs to make a long cut on the abdomen of the patient to insert the healthy kidney by removing the diseased kidney.
After careful insertion, the new kidney is connected to all the required blood vessels and the urinary bladder, through which the waste materials are pumped out from the kidneys. After this, the cut will be closed by the doctor. Generally, the patient’s kidney is left in its original place only. Because that won’t do any harm to the patient’s body, and it is also known that taking out the kidney will be great pain and may damage the other organs too. It is removed only in very rare and exceptional cases.
This process of inserting and connecting may take three to five hours, which is a common time of surgical methods of treatment. And there are at least 15000 kidney Transplant surgeries going around the year in India.
- Can we take the kidney of a deceased donor?
Even if the condition of the donor’s kidney is good, a deceased kidney is only a deceased kidney. Normally, it is known that the success rate of kidney transplants is more when a healthy kidney is used. These surgeries last three or two times more than the deceased surgeries.
The reason is no rocket science. It is just a deceased kidney meaning something which is already damaged. The efficiency of a damaged kidney to filter the waste particles is always lesser than that of a healthy kidney. Also, this implies lesser complications in the health of the patient.
So in every way, it is suggested to go to take the kidney of a healthy donor rather than a deceased donor. This way, you are less prone to risk and this also guarantees you a better life. If you do not get a healthy kidney donor from your relatives or friends, then you can also go to national kidney donor centers where millions of kidney donors are available for a reason. Anyway, it is not good to go for a deceased kidney. If you take such a kidney, then you should be ready for the consequences that arrive from chronic health issues.
- Within what time a patient is recovered once he or she undergoes Kidney Transplant?
Though kidney transplantation is like any other physical surgery that a body can undergo, the recovery time for this treatment is quite less, when compared to the other surgeries.
As the surgery is just replacing the old and diseased kidney with the other healthy kidney, or in some cases just connecting the kidney with the blood vessels and the bladder, it doesn’t take much time for an average human body to accept the new organ in the body.
The minimum time for the body to accept this new kidney may vary from person to person. In some people, it will take just two days, while in others it may be difficult to adjust even after seven to eight days. But this is not permanent, more or less time, your body will accept.
But another bad thing is that you can’t ever be normal like you used to be. Because now your body is having another kidney which is not supposed to be. So, if you want to work normally with your body like previously, then you can’t. Minor exercises are allowed to do and also walking you can do. But major workouts like Cardio, HIIT, and other forms of gymnastics are strictly prohibited for the better functioning of your body.
- Is direct kidney donation the best way?
Direct donation is known to be the best kidney transplant which has observed very few problems in the patient after the surgery. Direct donation means the donation of a kidney is done by someone who is very close to the patient genetically. This is the least complex type of donation.
And the only drawback of this donation is that the six antigens of the donor and the patient should not be the same. Because this match of antigens in two bodies makes their functioning completely different and thus results in more complexity. You can donate a kidney if up to five antigens are matched. This can be mostly in siblings or the parents, or the children of that particular patient.
If this facility is not available, then you need to go for another kidney that best matches your genes and is very much compatible with your body.
- What is meant by paired kidney exchange? Is it harmful anyway?
The question itself is asked in the wrong way. Paired kidney exchange has nothing to do with the health of the patient, so there is no point in being harmful, either to the donor or to the recipient.
Coming to the point, paired kidney exchange is a mechanism where donors will be exchanged based on mismatch. This can be better explained this way:
Suppose patient 1 needs a kidney. He has got a donor who is donor 1. But their genetic and antigen match is very poor and this kidney won’t be transplanted to the donor anyway. Also, there is a recipient 2 who needs a kidney. He had a donor 2 who matched with patient 2 who is very poor and is not eligible for transplantation.
Then, in this condition, the donors or the recipients are exchanged to make the best possible match. This technique of matching the best donor and recipient pairs is called the paired kidney exchange.
If you have a willing donor and his kidney doesn’t match your body, then you can go to the kidney exchange for your kidney transplant. This swapping can be done at kidney transplant centers and kidney transplant institutes all over India for free.
- Why is kidney transplant preferred over dialysis?
You might be thinking that, if a person comes across a kidney failure in his life, he is saved. If his two kidneys fail, it is not a problem. Because dialysis can save him. Also, it is known that dialysis is the easiest way to remove waste products from the body with lesser complications.
But the lesser-known fact is that dialysis does only 11% of the work that a kidney or two kidneys do. It means, 89% of the total body and blood wastes are still accumulating in the body which can affect your health adversely. So, with this, we can come to a conclusion that, though dialysis is a quick process, it is not the most effective way.
That is the reason people go for Kidney transplants, even though it is costly and a bit risky too for the body. Also, the quality of healthy well-being is acquired only through transplantation. It is revealed in a study that chances of survival are more in transplantation than in dialysis. Also, a kidney transplant offers 10-12 years more life than dialysis offers. These are the various reasons for which transplantation is preferred over dialysis.