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Chronic Kidney Disease (cont.)

Kidney Transplantation and Follow-up

Kidney transplantation offers the best outcomes and the best quality of life. Successful kidney transplants occur every day in the United States. Transplanted kidneys may come from living related donors, living unrelated donors, or people who have died of other causes (deceased donors). In people with type I diabetes, a combined kidney-pancreas transplant is often a better option.

However, not everyone is a candidate for a kidney transplant. People need to undergo extensive testing to ensure their suitability for transplantation. Also, there is a shortage of organs for transplantation, requiring waiting times of months to years before getting a transplant.

A person who needs a kidney transplant undergoes several tests to identify characteristics of his or her immune system. The recipient can accept only a kidney that comes from a donor who matches certain of his or her immunologic characteristics. The more similar the donor is in these characteristics, the greater the chance of long-term success of the transplant. Transplants from a living related donor generally have the best results.

Transplant surgery is a major procedure and generally requires 4 to 7 days in the hospital. All transplant recipients require lifelong immunosuppressant medications to prevent their bodies from rejecting the new kidney. Immunosuppressant medications require careful monitoring of blood levels and increase the risk of infection as well as some types of cancer.

Chronic Kidney Disease Follow-up

If a patient has chronic kidney disease, their health care practitioner will recommend a schedule of regular follow-up visits.

  • At these visits, the patient's underlying condition and kidney status will be evaluated.
  • The patient will have regular blood and urine tests and possibly imaging studies as part of this ongoing evaluation.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/13/2012
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Chronic Kidney Disease »

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by an irreversible deterioration of renal function that gradually progresses to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

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