Kidney Transplantation

 Kidney Transplantation Is an Alternative To Dialysis

Kidney transplantation is one of three treatment options that are available when an individual suffers
 irreversible kidney failure: 

  • Hemodialysis, 
  • Peritoneal dialysis, or 
  • kidney transplantation. 

Since dialysis may involve years, possibly even a lifetime, of treatment, many kidney failure patients choose kidney transplantation.

In general, kidney transplantation offers a better long term quality of life, higher overall energy levels and freedom of movement, and fewer restrictions on the patient's diet. 

A healthy kidney can come from a living donor who is a relative.

A kidney can also be "harvested" from a non-relative who has recently passed away (known as a non-living donor).

In either case, transplantation is complicated because the patient's own immune system will "reject" the new organ. Therefore, the patient will need to suppress the immune system's attempts to repel the "invader."

There are currently three types of medications that can be taken to accomplish this supression.

  • Cyclosporine or tacrolimus or sirolimus. 
  • Some type of steroid, and 
  • mycophenolate mofetil, azathioprine or rapamycin. 

A range of side effects from these medications can complicate recovery. These could include

  • high blood pressure, 
  • weight gain and an 
  • higher risk of infections and tumors. 

Fortunately, most patients are able to manage these side effects adequately and lead a relatively normal life. 

While kidney transplants have had a growing success rate through the years, some operations still fail and the kidney is rejected by the immune system. In such cases, there may need to be a second transplant.

Most private health insurance policies cover kidney transplantation costs.

Medicare also covers about eighty percent of the cost of the procedure. Medicare Part B covers much of the expense of anti-supression drugs, but not most other medications that may be needed.

For some people, especially younger ones, Medicare coverage ends after 36 months. However, those who qualify for Medicare because of age or disability may be covered for the cost of anti-rejection drugs beyond that period.


Learn more about the dangers of kidney disease by clicking on the book cover below or

The Kidney Disease Solution

the kidney disease solution