There Are Some Risks To Consider

Your body rejecting the new kidney is another risk. Because it’s not your own, the body could recognize it as a foreign object and proceed to try and get rid of it. Luckily, modern medical advances have found ways to prevent this from happening, and taking immunosuppressants is one way to keep your body from rejecting the new organ. 

Candidate For A Kidney Transplant?

There are, however instances where doctors will determine that a patient isn’t a good candidate for a kidney transplant. Patients who suffer from infection or cancer typically aren’t considered. If you have a short life expectancy or abuse alcohol or drugs, you won’t get a transplant either. Sometimes doctors will determine that it isn’t safe to operate on a patient, and in these cases, kidney transplants can’t be performed (via the Cleveland Clinic). Your doctor will also evaluate whether the risks of the transplant may outweigh the benefits for your specific situation.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate For A Kidney Transplant?

Ideal candidates typically consist of people who have end-stage kidney disease and are completely dependent on dialysis. Patients who suffer from an advanced form of chronic kidney disease are also considered, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Even if you suffer from chronic kidney disease and also need another organ transplant, you’ll still be considered for a kidney transplant. People who are typically seen as high-risk patients might also be good candidates, according to Temple Health. There is a catch, however: You’ll have to undergo a complete medical evaluation to ensure you are healthy enough to receive and tolerate a new kidney.

You Can Get A Kidney From A Living Or Deceased Donor

It is possible to get a kidney from a living donor. This is because the body can function normally with just one kidney, according to the Mayo Clinic. Living donors can be family members, friends, or even complete strangers, according to the American Kidney Fund. Success rates for living donor kidney transplants are a whopping 98.11% while deceased donor success rates are 94.88%, according to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (via Temple Health).

How To Choose Between Staying On Dialysis And Getting A Transplant

If your kidneys stop functioning as they should, you will typically be able to choose between sticking to dialysis or opting for a transplant. Understanding the difference between these two treatments is very important before you make a decision.

In an article that Serban Constantinescu, M.D., Ph.D., wrote for Temple Health, he explains that dialysis is often temporarily implemented until someone can receive a kidney from a donor. Basically, this process acts as your body’s artificial kidney until you can get the real thing. He adds that many people find dialysis to be incredibly time-consuming. “Our patients sometimes find dialysis to be restrictive because appointments and maintenance take up a lot of time,” Constantinescu writes, adding that it’s important to keep in mind that, while dialysis is pretty effective, it isn’t able to exactly replicate the function of your kidneys. You will constantly need to be monitored by your doctor to ensure your body is staying healthy while on dialysis. This can have a significant impact on the quality of your life, and Constantinescu says that this is one of the many reasons people opt for kidney transplants.

The Kidney Transplant

For many patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) or end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), the treatment that provides the longest and best quality of life is a kidney transplant. Recently, the U.S. transplant system achieved a record milestone, with over 40,000 organ transplants performed in 2021. Despite this achievement, there are still many more people waiting years for a kidney than there are kidneys available. The transplant ecosystem, while functioning well, could be significantly improved with additional reforms.