Kidney transplantation

Also called: transplantation, kidney transplant, renal transplantation

Only a transplant team can tell you that you are definitely eligible (or not eligible) for a transplant. Most kidney transplants are successful-more than 90% of transplants are still working one year later. Recent studies have found that the odds of good results are somewhat better with a "preemptive" transplant, done before dialysis is needed. Preemptive transplant requires a willing living kidney donor-probably a relative, spouse or friend. In 2001, 42% of kidney transplants came from living donors.

If you do not have a living donor, you can ask to be placed on a national waiting list to receive a cadaver kidney from someone who has recently died-usually in an accident. After your evaluation is complete and you are placed on the list, credit for waiting time begins when your glomerular filtration rate (GFR) drops to 20 mL/min or lower. Long waiting times-often years-are common for kidney transplants from cadaver donors.

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