Transplantation Is an Alternative To Dialysis
Kidney transplantation is one of three treatment options that are available when an individual
suffers irreversible kidney failure:
Peritoneal dialysis, or
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
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
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
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
Most private health insurance policies cover kidney transplantation
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
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