The long road to getting a kidney transplant

More than 26 million Americans have kidney disease, according to UPMC Transplant Services, and because kidney transplantation a vital treatment option for many patients with chronic kidney disease, the need for healthy kidneys is in high demand.

More than 100,000 people across the United States are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, according to the United Network of Organ Sharing. But the process from diagnosis to transplant surgery is a long road – one that many many never see the end of.

It starts with qualifying for a kidney. According to The Kidney Foundation of Central PA, people with end-stage renal ( kidney ) disease qualify for a transplant. People with advanced chronic kidney disease, who are not yet on dialysis, may also be considered for kidney transplantation. However, if the patient has...

  • Active cancer
  • Liver failure
  • Severe heart disease
  • Or cannot give informed consent due to mental illness...

the patient does not qualify for a transplant.

And, even if a patient does qualify for a kidney transplant, they must first be treated for a variety of illnesses before being allowed to receive the transplant. Some of those illnesses include...

  • Active infection
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Predisposition to stroke
  • Substance abuse

And if you have cancer, depending on the type, a person must be cancer-free for three to five years before receiving a transplant of any kind.

The next step is finding a viable kidney. kidneys suitable for transplant can come from a...

  • Deceased donor
  • Living donor related to the recipient
  • Living donor not related to the recipient, such as a spouse or friend
  • Living donor whom the recipient doesn’t know – these people are known as altruistic donors.

After all of this is said and done, the average patient can be on the kidney transplant waiting list for two to five years, according to the United Network of Organ Sharing.

Click this link if you are interested in becoming a living kidney donor or would like to learn more about the benefits and risks of living kidney donation.

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