What is a Kidney ?
The Kidneys are pear shaped digestive organs located in the upper abdomen which play a key role in bodily functions. Their main functions are blood filtering and getting rid of bodily waste thereby balancing the electrolyte levels in the body.
The kidneys are also vital for controlling blood pressure and stimulating the production of red blood cells. The kidneys are located in the abdomen, one on each side of the spine. Kidneys get their blood supply through the renal arteries directly from the aorta and send blood back to the heart via the renal veins to the vena cava.
The transplant itself is a surgical process where the surgeon places the new kidney in your abdomen and attaches it to the artery that supplied blood to one of your kidneys and to the vein carrying blood away from the kidney. The ureter is attached to the kidney, which carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.
What is a Kidney Transplant ?
Replacement of diseased or non-working kidneys with a healthy kidney from a living or brain dead donor. One can live long with one kidney also if it is functioning properly. It is for the patients who has end stage renal disease. The Kidney transplant surgeries are of two types :
- Living Donor Kidney Transplant Surgery : The kidney is taken from a close family member or spouse who is compatible and willing to donate. Thorough examination of the donor is done before accepting a candidate.
- Cadaveric or Deceased Donor Kidney Transplant Surgery : In this the kidney is taken from a brain-dead person and the family members have consented to donate their organs. Extensive blood tests are done on both donor and recipient.
For more information on Kidney Transplantation criteria ,please read Kidney/Renal Transplant Guidelines in India
Types of Kidney Diseases
The process which reduces the functioning of the kidneys is called as ‘kidney disease’. There are two types of kidney diseases- acute kidney disease where damage is sudden revealing the symptoms quickly and the other is chronic kidney disease where the decline in the kidney function is slow and progressive. The different types of kidney diseases are :
- Kidney cancer
- Early kidney failure
- Chronic renal insufficiency
- Hyperfiltration (Stage 1)
- Mild microalbuminuria ( Stage 2 )
- Clinical albuminuria ( Stage 3)
- Advanced clinical nephropathy (Stage 4)
- Kidney failure (Stage 5)
- Diabetic nephropathy
Causes of Kidney Diseases
- Diabetes mellitus, which damages small blood vessels in your body and makes it difficult for the kidneys to function properly
- High blood pressure or hypertension if left untreated will damage the glomeruli which filters waste from the body.
- Glomerulonephritis causes your kidneys to leak red blood cells into your urine.
- Polycystic Kidney disease caused by clusters of fluid-filled cysts and develops in the kidneys.
- Renovascular disease which causes decreased blood flow to the kidneys.
- Chronic Pyelonephritis causes by repeated episodes of urinary tract infections.
- Systemic Lupus erythematosus where body mistakenly attacks own kidney tissues.
- Obstructive Nephropathy is a blockage of urine causing damage to kidneys.
- Analgesic Nephropathy and Drugs cause kidney damage when over medications quantities are taken.
Diagnostic tests for kidney disease are blood tests, urine tests, measuring kidney function, imaging tests and kidney biopsy.
Types of Kidney Treatments
- Acute Kidney Diseases Treatment : Treatment depends partly on the causes and extent of the failure. The first major goal is to know the exact cause of kidney failure and the other one is the degree to which the accumulating wastes and water are affecting the body. These two points will decide the treatments required.
- Chronic Kidney Diseases Treatment : The goal is to prevent or slow down additional damage to the kidneys. The most important point is to control the disease that is causing it. For a diabetic patient, the doctor will plan to treat and manage the condition to help and slow down additional damage of the kidneys. The doctor will also check for other conditions that may cause kidney damage including a blockage in the urinary tract or overdose of medicines.
Procedure of Kidney transplant
The procedure starts by new kidney placed on the lower right or left side of the patient’s abdomen from where the nearby blood vessels are surgically connected. The artery and vein of the kidney will be attached just above one of the legs to an artery and vein in the lower part of the abdomen. To allow urine to pass out of the patient’s body the new kidney ureter, the tube that links the kidney to the bladder, will be connected to blood vessels and the bladder.
Benefits of Kidney Transplant
A successful kidney transplant can benefit the patient drastically. The patient will be able to get back to its normal lifestyle after the surgery and can go for a normal diet and opt for more fluid intake. After transplant the patient need not to depend on dialysis. Anemia which is a common problem with kidney failure might also be corrected. The success rate depends on the type of organ transplanted, by the number of organs transplanted and the type of disease that caused the organ to fail. For single organ transplants the success rate is 80 % to 90 % of and a 5-10 year survival rate.
Post-operative Care of the Kidney Transplant
Post operational care involves taking daily medicines to prevent the immune system from rejecting the new organ. The number of medicines will vary over the years and more anti-rejection medicines are required immediately after the transplant. Some healthy precautions should be taken like eating healthy foods, regular exercise, good sleep and staying away from large crowds.
Cost of Kidney Transplant
Compared to international healthcare costs, cost of kidney transplant in India (with dialysis) is very reasonable. Hospitals in India treat 5,000 kidney patients annually from all over the world, providing the best medical care at considerably low prices.