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If you or someone you love needs a kidney transplant, understanding the following steps will help:
After you have discussed transplantation with your doctor and decided you may need a transplant, your doctor may refer you to the Baylor transplant program. Each patient referred for a transplant undergoes an evaluation including various physical examinations, diagnostic tests and educational meetings, usually performed on an outpatient basis.
To be considered for a kidney transplant, you must have a diagnosis of end-stage renal disease without any conditions that would exclude you from getting a transplant. The following conditions may exclude some patients from kidney and kidney transplantation:
It is not necessary to be on dialysis prior to transplant. Pre-dialysis candidates should have a creatinine clearance of less than 20 before being placed on the transplant waiting list.
If you are approved as a candidate for transplantation and reimbursement for the transplant has been cleared with your insurer, you will be placed on Baylor's transplant waiting list and registered with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the national organ-donor system.
You may receive a kidney from:
Before a kidney from any donor can be used, it is tested to determine whether it matches your tissue type and blood type. This test helps reduce the likelihood that your body will reject the new kidney.
During kidney transplant surgery, a surgeon will place the healthy donor kidney into your body. The new kidney will do the work that your failing kidneys can no longer perform. Generally, your damaged kidneys will not be removed unless they are causing problems that cannot be treated with medication.
After placing the donor kidney in your body, the surgeon will connect blood vessels from the donor kidney to arteries and veins in your body. After the ureter - the tube that carries urine to the bladder - from the donor kidney is connected to your ureter, surgeons can allow blood to flow through the new kidney, and it can begin to function. Kidney transplant surgery may take two to four hours.
You will typically stay in the hospital for approximately five days after you receive your new kidney. Hospital stays may vary from case to case. Many patients experience immediate results with their new functioning kidney and produce urine. In some cases, it may take a new kidney time to produce urine. In this case, patients may have to undergo dialysis and take medications such as diuretics, which help kidneys eliminate excess water and salt from the body.
After surgery, you will take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of your life to help prevent your body from rejecting your new kidney.
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