Clinical Renal Kidney Transplant

Kidney Transplant: What to Expect Throughout the Entire Process

Why Would I want to
Get a Kidney Transplant?

When your Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) gets severe enough, waste products and extra fluids build up in your body. Eventually, this gets so bad that your activities are limited and ultimately your kidney failure results in hospitalizations and death. Fortunately, dialysis is available to markedly improve your health and prolong your life. 

For most patients, transplant is a better treatment than dialysis.  Transplant usually results in your having more energy than when on dialysis and generally leaves you feeling better than when on dialysis.   There is also usually more freedom with your daily schedule than when on dialysis.  Transplant patients also live longer than those who remain on dialysis.

What Do I Do to Get a Kidney Transplant?

After an initial conversation with your nephrologist (kidney doctor) you will be referred to a kidney transplant program unless either you absolutely do not want a transplant or if you have a health problem that will make transplant impossible. The choice to get a kidney transplant requires lots of education about the entire process so you know exactly what to expect and what complications may be.  You also need to know what is required from you after the transplant. Therefore, the transplant evaluation will include a long education session. Also, because kidney transplantation is a complex surgery, the transplant team needs to make sure that you are healthy enough to safely get through the surgery. They will examine you carefully and order necessary tests and ask you to see certain medical specialists be able to have any vaccines that contain live viruses. The transplant program can tell you what to avoid and what you should have. The main live vaccine that you should avoid in the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine. The pneumonia vaccine is fine. It is very important that kidney transplant patients get the flu shot each year but only get the inactivated flu vaccine (flu shot). The flu vaccine also comes in live (or attenuated) form that usually comes in the form of a nasal mist. Do not get the live or attenuated vaccine.

When Should I Call a Transplant Doctor?

Having a kidney transplant puts you at risk for health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes. You’re also more likely to get infections. This could occur at a particular site like your incision or your lungs. It could be an infection that affects your whole body like when you have the flu. There is also a chance your body could start to attack (reject) the donor kidney.

Call the transplant doctor prior to having any procedures or starting new medicines to make sure that it is safe for you and the kidney transplant. Also, to make sure that any new medicine will not interact with your anti-rejection medicines.

Posted in CKD Patient Education Blogs, Blog.