Kidney Transplantation: Introduction FeedbackA general introduction to Kidney Transplantation.Source: NHS Choices, 03 Apr 2012
A kidney transplant is the transfer of a healthy kidney from one person (the donor) into the body of a person who has little or no kidney activity (the recipient).
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located on each side of the body, just beneath the ribcage. Their main role is to filter waste products from the blood before converting them to urine.
If the kidneys lose this ability then waste products can build up, which is potentially dangerous and can be life threatening.
Loss of kidney function is known as end stage chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, which is the most common reason for a kidney transplant.
It is possible to replicate the functions of the kidney using a blood filtering procedure known as dialysis. But dialysis can be both inconvenient and time-consuming so a kidney transplant, when possible, is the treatment of choice for end stage chronic kidney disease.
Read more about why a kidney transplant is performed.
A person only needs one kidney to survive. Therefore, unlike other types of organ donation, such as heart and liver, a living person can donate a kidney. Ideally, this will be a close relative.
This type of donation is known as a living donation.
Receiving a donation from a close relative means there is less risk of the body rejecting the kidney.
Kidney donations are also possible from donors who have recently died. However, this type of kidney donation has a slightly lower chance of long-term success.
Read more about how a kidney transplant is performed.
One of the biggest risks of receiving a donated kidney is that your immune system (your body’s natural defence against infection) will mistake the donated kidney for a foreign object, such as a viral or bacterial infection.
If this happens, your immune system will attempt to destroy the kidney. This is known as rejection.
Potentially, rejection can be very serious and, in some cases, fatal. To minimise risks the kidney should ideally be donated by somebody who has:
- the same tissue type as the recipient. Human tissue carries a special genetic 'marker' or code, known as a human leukocyte antigen (HLA); ideally, you should receive your transplant from someone with an identical, or very similar, HLA tissue type
- the same blood group as the recipient. As with tissue, each red blood cell is marked with a specific antigen marker
For these reasons family members are usually the most suitable donors.
As members of the same family often share the same type of genes they are more likely to have matching HLA tissue types, and blood groups.
However, many kidney transplants have been successfully performed using a donation not taken from a family member.
In some cases there may be two living donors (who are strangers to each other) who do not have the same tissue type as their family member but would be suitable for donation to the other donor’s family member and (vice versa.) In such a circumstance they can ‘swap’ donations. This is known as a paired donation.
A kidney transplant is a major surgical procedure with a wide range of potential risks.
In the short term, rejection, infection and blood clots are a risk. Long term risks are usually related to the medication needed to reduce the chance of rejection (immunosuppressants).
Because of this people who have had a kidney transplant require regular check-ups for the rest of their life.
Read more about the risks of a kidney transplant.
Living with a transplant
Having a healthy lifestyle goes a long way to minimising these types of risks.
It’s recommended that you:
- quit smoking if you smoke
- eat a healthy diet
- lose weight if you are overweight or obese; ideally you want to achieve a body mass index of less than 25 - you can use the NHS Choices’ BMI healthy weight calculator to work out your own personal BMI
Read more living with a transplant.
How common are kidney donations?
The demand for donated kidneys in the UK is far higher than the available supply of donors, both living and dead.
From April 2010 to April 2011 there were 1,020 living donations and 1,667 donations taken from recently deceased people. But this still left just under 7,000 people on the waiting list for a donation.
Kidney donors are particularly required from people of non-white ethnic origin
Chronic kidney disease is especially high in communities of South Asian and African or Carribbean ethnic origin, but there are not many donors from these communities.
The outlook for a person who receives a donated kidney will depend on a number of factors. These include:
- whether the donation was a living donation or not (living donations usually have a slightly better outlook)
- whether the donation was from a close relative or someone with the same tissue type (this lowers the risk of the body rejecting the kidney)
- the age of the person receiving the donation (the younger the person, the better the outlook)
- the overall health of the person receiving the donation (the healthier a person is, the better the outlook)
The kidney survival times for living donations are:
- 1 year - 90-95%
- 5 years - 80%
- 15 years - 60%
Where kidneys are donated from someone who has recently died, the kidney survival times are:
- 1 year - 85-90%
- 5 years - 70%
- 15 years - 50%
Kidney Transplantation: Guidance FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Kidney Transplantation from producers of guidance information.
- British Transplantation Society, 31 January 2011
- The Renal Association, 05 February 2011
- The Renal Association, 12 January 2011
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 12 December 2011
Guidelines for the prevention and management of cytomegalovirus disease after solid organ transplantation [PDF]British Transplantation Society, 01 August 2010
- Organ donation for transplantation
Kidney Transplantation: Commissioning FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Kidney Transplantation from producers of commissioning advice.
Information for the public
Kidney Transplantation: Information for the public FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Kidney Transplantation, from Department of Health accredited producers of patient information.
TA99 Renal transplantation - immunosuppressive regimens for children and adolescents: understanding NICE guidance [PDF]National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 25 April 2006
TA85 Renal transplantation - immuno-suppressive regimens (adults) (review): understanding NICE guidance [PDF]National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 22 September 2004
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 09 November 2012
- NHS Choices, 14 May 2012
- NHS Choices, 03 April 2012
Kidney Transplantation: Ongoing Research FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Kidney Transplantation, from research trials.
An investigation into the treatment of the donor kidney to see if this improves the recovery of the kidney after transplantationUK Clinical Trials Gateway, 03 August 2012
Standard Versus Prolonged-release Tacrolimus Monotherapy After Alemtuzumab Induction in Kidney TransplantationUK Clinical Trials Gateway, 10 December 2008
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 18 May 2007
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 21 March 2012
A Study to Determine Pharmacokinetics of Children Receiving Modigraf (Tacrolimus Granules) Following Solid Organ TransplantationUK Clinical Trials Gateway, 09 June 2011
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 31 July 2012
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 19 September 2011
Safety & Efficacy of Eculizumab to Prevent AMR in Living Donor Kidney Transplant Recipients Requiring DesensitizationUK Clinical Trials Gateway, 19 July 2011
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 16 February 2012
- UK Clinical Trials Gateway, 07 June 2010
Kidney Transplantation: Evidence Uncertainty FeedbackThe most relevant search results for Kidney Transplantation, highlighting areas where further research is needed.
Patient level factors associated with benefit of kidney transplantation for outcomes other than mortalityUK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 27 July 2012
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 23 August 2012
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 14 October 2013
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 20 May 2009
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 21 September 2010
What are the benefits and harms of immunosuppressive regimens containing TOR-I when compared to other regimens as initial therapy for kidney transplant recipients?UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 23 September 2010
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 22 September 2010
Is rituximab therapy associated with a higher rate of relapse in kidney transplant patients with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder?UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 07 December 2009
Do calcium channel blockers prevent acute tubular necrosis (ATN) in cadaveric kidney transplant recipients?UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 21 September 2010
- UK Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments, 07 December 2009
Kidney Transplantation: Medicines FeedbackAppropriate medicines information for Kidney Transplantation supplied by Datapharm, a leading source of trusted, credible information about medicines.
Kidney transplant - Medicines Information
- Advagraf (a brand of Tacrolimus Monohydrate)
- Antithymocyte immunoglobulin (rabbit)
- CellCept powder
- Dexamethasone sodium phosphate
- Medrone (a brand of Methylprednisolone)
- Methylprednisolone sodium succinate
- Mycophenolate mofetil (a generic version of Cellcept)
- Mycophenolate mofetil hydrochloride (a generic version of Cellcept Powder)
- Mycophenolate sodium
- Myfortic (a brand of Mycophenolate Sodium)
- Neoral (a brand of Ciclosporin)
- Prednisolone Sodium Phosphate
- Prograf (a brand of Tacrolimus Monohydrate)
- Prograf Infusion (a brand of Tacrolimus)
- Rapamune (a brand of Sirolimus)
- Sandimmun (a brand of Ciclosporin)
- Simulect (a brand of Basiliximab)
- Solu-Medrone (a brand of Methylprednisolone Sodium Succinate)
- Tacrolimus monohydrate
- Thymoglobuline (a brand of Antithymocyte Immunoglobulin (Rabbit))
- Results are currently sorted by relevance (Sort results by: date)
- Results 1 - 10 (of 97)
...all patients after kidney transplantation. ACEi have detrimental...and graft loss in kidney transplant recipients...patient survival in kidney transplantation--study design...protect transplanted kidneys with chronic vascular...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 08 July 2009 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers for adults with early (stage 1 to 3) non-diabetic chronic kidney disease
...damage to the kidneys. In 2002, the US Kidney Disease Outcomes...early chronic kidney disease. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2007;22...early chronic kidney disease. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2007;22...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 05 October 2011 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
...patients with chronic kidney disease and hypertension...Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2003;18(Suppl...patients with chronic kidney disease and hypertension...Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation 2001;12(2...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 16 March 2011 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
...Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation 20(3), 429-435. [Abstract...renal disease. If the person has kidney, eye, or cerebrovascular damage...216months3060monthsBoth Assessing the kidneys How do I assess for renal disease? Assess for kidney damage at diagnosis and annually thereafter...
Clinical Knowledge Summaries, 01 July 2010
...agents for preventing diabetic kidney disease Jicheng Lv 1...agents for preventing diabetic kidney disease. Cochrane Database...Cochrane Renal Group, Centre for Kidney Research, Westmead, NSW...Department of Emergency and Organ Transplantation, Bari, Italy 5 Mario...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12 December 2012 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
...for preventing and treating kidney disease in Henoch-Schönlein...for preventing and treating kidney disease in Henoch-Schönlein...ESKD (including dialysis and transplantation). Significant increase...Hypertension due to HSP associated kidney disease. Development...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 08 July 2009 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
...blindness), kidney damage (sometimes...dialysis or transplantation), and nerve...Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2005;20(11...of chronic kidney disease in...Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2006;21(1...
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 28 May 2008 - Publisher: NICE - Publication type: Full Guidance
...globulin; stem cell transplantation Introduction Top...F. (1994) National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry – outcomes...cyclosporine-treated female kidney transplant recipients. Transplantation, 57, 502–506. ...
British Committee for Standards in Haematology, 10 August 2009
...of dialysis or kidney transplantation. Surrogate...Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 1992;7 Suppl...glomerular diseases. Kidney International...American Journal of Kidney Diseases 1995...Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 1992;7 Suppl...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 18 October 2004 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
...Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 1999;14(9...nephrotic syndrome. Kidney International...Syndrome Study Group. Kidney International...Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2003;18(Suppl...Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation 2003;18(2...American Journal of Kidney Diseases 1995...
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 23 January 2008 - Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
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