Two bean-shaped organs are on either side of the spine, right below the rib cage, called kidneys. They are the size of a fist, and their primary function is eliminating and filtering minerals, waste, and fluid from the blood through urine.
A kidney transplant is a surgery procedure in which a dysfunctional kidney is replaced with a healthy kidney from a donor. The kidney could be from either a deceased organ donor or a living donor. Family members or those who are a good match for the receiver could donate one of their kidneys. The doctor will check the patient’s blood and tissue to ensure they match the donor’s.
When the body cannot filter harmful levels of fluid and waste, this raises blood pressure and leads to end-stage renal disease or an irreversible condition of kidney failure.
End-stage kidney disease is frequently caused by:
- High blood pressure
- Chronic glomerulonephritis causes the small filters inside the kidneys to become inflamed and eventually scarred
- Kidney polycystic disease
Patients with end-stage kidney disease require dialysis or a kidney transplant to keep them alive by mechanically removing waste and toxins from their bloodstream. In this situation, a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals works to achieve successful results from the kidney transplant. The team will discuss the case and run tests to ascertain the best course of treatment.
Living Donor Kidney Transplant
A kidney from a healthy donor is surgically removed and transplanted into a patient with kidney failure during a living donor transplant. If the patient is going to receive a kidney from a living family member (a living-related transplant), the donor must be in decent health and have a compatible blood type. The medical practitioner will perform a mental health evaluation to ensure that the donor is okay with the decision.
A much higher success rate is the biggest benefit of a living donor kidney transplant over a deceased donor kidney transplant. There are several other benefits of a living donor transplant, which include:
● A living donor kidney typically starts working right away after the transplant. Whereas it could take several days or weeks for a deceased donor’s kidney to begin functioning regularly.
● It is possible to schedule the living donor transplant on a planned date, giving the donor and receiver time to prepare. A deceased donor kidney may become available anytime, and the operation has to be done quickly.
● If a blood relative donates the kidney, there may be a lower likelihood of rejection.
● The waiting time for a transplant reduces. On average, finding a deceased donor kidney may take three to five years.
Deceased Donor Kidney Transplant
A deceased-donor kidney is extracted from people who have died and are eligible organ donors. A healthy kidney is taken from a brain-dead person and transplanted into a patient whose kidneys are no longer functioning optimally. The transplant takes place with the family’s consent or using a donor card. The donated kidney is connected to an equipment that gives nutrients and oxygen or is stored on ice until it is transplanted into the recipient. The donor and receiver should preferably be in the same geographic location as the transplant centre to reduce the time the kidney spends outside the human body.
A deceased donor kidney could be from people of various biological, anatomical, and social characteristics. They are divided into different categories.
- Expanded Criteria Donors (ECD): This category is for organ donors who are over the age of 60. People between the ages of 50 to 59 who also meet a minimum of two of the following requirements: a history of hypertension, a CVA (stroke), or a creatinine level that is higher than the recommended laboratory value (1.5 mg/dl), fall under this category as well.
- Standard Criteria Donors (SCD): This list includes donors under 50 who do not fit any of the expanded criteria listed above.
- Donation after Cardiac Death (DCD): Also known as donation after circulatory death, this occurs after the heart has stopped beating. In DCD, the heart is no longer sending blood to the organs and organ recovery must begin immediately after death – within 60 minutes. DCD differs from Donation after Brain Death, which occurs while the heart is still pumping. Brain-dead donation is the practice in India.
The health risks connected with kidney transplantation include those directly related to the surgery, rejection of the donor organ, and the adverse effects of taking immunosuppressive drugs to keep the body from rejecting the donor’s kidney.
Receiving a kidney from a dead organ donor could take considerably longer. Some people find a match within a few months, while others may have to wait several years. The patient will have frequent health checks while on the list to ensure they are still viable candidates for transplant. The transplant facility will notify them when a compatible deceased-donor kidney becomes available.
When compared to an entire life on dialysis, a kidney transplant has a lower chance of death, a higher quality of life, and fewer dietary restrictions.