Understanding Transplantation

For many patients with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) a kidney transplant is the treatment of choice. For some the risks (the transplant surgery itself and the subsequent immunosuppression) outweighs the benefits. A successful transplant improves patient survival and quality of life compared to those on dialysis. Not everyone will qualify for a kidney transplant. The suitability for a transplant will depend upon many factors such as the medical problems, cognitive function and physical status of the patient.

Patients will require close follow up after a kidney transplant because they will be on immunosuppressive medications. These medications suppress our immune response to the ‘foreign’ kidney transplant and prevent rejection. The drawback of these medications is that they suppress the entire immune system making a transplant recipient more prone to develop infections. These complex medications make transplant recipients more prone to infections, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and bone disease.

Transplant Terminology
Donor Person giving kidney
Recipient Person receiving kidney
KT Kidney Transplant

Benefits of a Kidney Transplant

  • Best survival rate: Studies have shown that most of survival benefit comes from a reduction in cardiovascular mortality
  • Improved quality of life
  • Improved sense of well being
  • Improved exercise capacity
  • Improved sexual function and fertility (including potential for successful pregnancy)