Kidney transplantation involves the transfer of a kidney from one person (the donor) into another person with end-stage kidney failure (the recipient). However, not all patients are suitable for transplantation. Patients who are not suitable for transplant will need long-term dialysis.
When a patient develops end-stage kidney failure, minerals, fluids and toxins will build up to harmful levels. Some symptoms of kidney failure are:
- Fluid retention results in swelling of feet and ankles
- Decreased or change in urine output
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss
- Fatigue and weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent itching
These symptoms are often non-specific, which means they can be caused by other illness or conditions. Further urine, blood tests and assessments are required to confirm diagnosis of kidney failure.
Once diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure, the patient will either require dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. Dialysis can remove enough toxins and excess fluids from the patient but not all and the patient will still require medication. In the long term, the patient on dialysis can develop further complications, such as cardiovascular disease, due to the incomplete removal of toxins and fluids.
Kidney transplantation is a surgical procedure which involves transferring kidney from a living or deceased donor into the recipient. In most cases, the recipient’s own kidneys are left in place. Whenever possible, a living kidney donor is preferred because success rates are generally higher. The living donor must be willing, able to give informed consent and is medically and psychologically suitable to donate one of his or her own kidney. The living donor does not need to be genetically related to the potential recipient.
As a kidney that is transplanted is recognized as foreign by the body, the body’s immune system, which can reject the kidney, must be kept in check by power drugs called immunosuppressants.
Transplant patients must continue these drugs for life, as these drugs suppressed the rejection process and successfully protect the kidney. This is however comes with a price as these drugs also lower the patient’s resistance to infection. Patients are at an increased risk of getting infection.
For more information about the Kidney Transplant programme, please contact:
Tel: +65 6326 6368
Fax: +65 6220 0730