A kidney transplant is the treatment that often provides the best quality of life.


What is a kidney transplant?

When you have a kidney transplant, a healthy kidney is placed inside your body in order to replace the functions that your own kidneys can no longer perform.

Unlike other treatments that manage symptoms or slow disease progress, transplantation offers the possibility of restoring kidney function to near-normal levels, offering eligible patients the opportunity to reclaim their lives from the constraints that come with living with CKD.

With kidney transplantation, there are fewer limits on what you can eat and drink, but you should still follow a healthy lifestyle. As a result, your health and energy should improve. In fact, a successful kidney transplant may allow you to live the kind of life you were living prior to developing kidney disease.

Transplantation is the best available treatment for advanced chronic kidney disease, despite the fact it is not a cure. To take good care of your new kidney, you will need to make some adjustments in your lifestyle and take lifelong medication. By doing this, a kidney transplant will provide longer survival and a better quality of life.

Types of kidney transplant

Kidneys for transplant can come from living donors, who may be related to you or come from non-related persons. In some countries, they may also come from unknown donors who are still alive and want to make a generous donation. However, most of the kidneys for transplant come from people who have died. There is a shortage of organs for transplantation and, usually, transplant is not immediate. In general terms, a transplant from a living donor is associated with the best results.

Your medical team will give you all the necessary information about regulations and waiting lists in your country.

How do I get on the transplant list?

Your care team will discuss what having a transplant involves, making sure it is the right choice for you. Not everyone will be suitable for a transplant. You need to be reasonably healthy to have the operation and for your body to cope with medications to prevent rejection of the new kidney. You will need to have a number of tests, known as a check-up, to assess your health condition and to help match you with the best donor. If your test results show that you are not currently healthy enough for a transplant, your doctor will discuss this with you to see if there is anything you can do to improve your health or whether another form of treatment is more suitable.

For transplantation to be a feasible option, for as many as possible, there is an urgent need to increase organ donation rates worldwide; this can happen through public awareness, implementing policy reforms, and fostering supportive environments to facilitate organ donation and transplantation processes.


Transplantation risks

If you are suitable for transplantation, your medical team and other specialists will help you understand what kidney transplantation is all about.

As for all medical procedures, there are some risks connected with kidney transplantation. Medication prescribed to tolerate the new kidney may interfere with your immune system and increase the risk of some infections, when compared to the healthy population. Nonethelss, you will be closely followed by an experienced team, that will ensure that the clinical surveillance you receive is the one indicated for your condition. Good medical follow-up and adequate compliance to all the indications improves significantly kidney transplant outcomes!  

What does the transplantation operation involve?

Kidney transplant requires a surgical procedure and needs to be performed in a specialised hospital. Usually, this means that you may have to stay in the hospital for an average of 4-7 days, but this number differs significantly between patients.

Usually, your own kidneys aren’t taken out when you get a transplant. The surgeon leaves them where they are unless there is a  specific reason to remove them. The donated kidney is placed into your lower abdomen (belly), where it is easier to connect it to your important blood vessels and bladder.

After discharge, you will have regular visits to your medical team for monitoring and tests, more frequently just after transplantation.

Learn from others

Kidney transplantation will bring important changes to your life. You may find it beneficial to discuss your doubts with someone who has undergone kidney transplantation.



Kidney transplant

Dr Domingos Machado

Deeply driven by our culture of True care, Dr Domingos Machado, Nephrologist and Diaverum's Transplantation Ambassador, made a life-changing decision a few years ago – he put himself forward as a kidney donor to an anonymous renal patient, at age 70.

Read more


Thinking of travelling while on a transplant list?

Our d.HOLIDAY Fly Back Programme funds safe and fast returns home for patients who receive their transplant call whilst travelling within Europe.

Visit the d.HOLIDAY website to discover more!

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