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National Kidney Foundation
Financing a Transplant
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What are the options for patients with end-stage renal disease?
People with end-stage renal (kidney) disease (ESRD) have two treatment options: dialysis or transplantation. The decision to have a transplant is one that you will make along with the advice of your nephrologist (kidney doctor).
Why can’t I stay on dialysis for the rest of my life?
While dialysis is a lifesaving treatment, it involves dependence on a hemodialysis machine or on peritoneal dialysis exchanges (machines that clean your blood and replace the function of your kidneys). For many people, the quality of life on these two types of dialysis is unsatisfactory. Transplantation is another lifesaving option that can provide improved life and freedom from dialysis.
What are the advantages of kidney transplant?
A successful kidney transplant allows most patients to feel better and have an improved quality of life. Although medical supervision will continue after transplant, you will no longer be dependent upon dialysis. There may also be fewer dietary and fluid restrictions.
What are the risks of a kidney transplant?
Transplantation has risks as well as benefits. Your body may reject the transplant. You may experience side effects from the medications. There are surgical risks with all surgical procedures. Your physician will discuss the risks and benefits with you.
What happens during kidney transplantation?
Kidney transplantation is a procedure in which a new kidney from another person is placed into your body, taking over the work of your two failed kidneys. The new kidney can do all the work that your failing two kidneys could not. Candidates for kidney transplantation can be put on a waiting list for a healthy kidney, but some may receive a kidney from a living donor who is usually a family member or close friend of the recipient.
How can a patient prevent organ rejection?
A number of very effective medications are available to prevent organ rejection. These medications suppress the immune system, which inhibits rejection of foreign tissue. After a kidney transplant, recipients must take medications daily for the rest of their lives.
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