Why is the waiting list so long?
The number of people with severe kidney disease that require dialysis and transplantation is increasing in all western societies and this has led to an increase in the demand for kidney transplantation. The number of deceased donor kidneys available in the world has not really changed in the last 10 years and therefore the waiting list has grown. Intensive efforts are being made to increase both living and deceased donor renal transplantation to address the demand for kidneys.
How long will I have to wait for a kidney?
This question is always difficult to answer as waiting time is influenced by several factors, including among others blood group, age and rareness of genetic type. On average, patients who are listed for a deceased donor transplant wait approximately three years, but there is a great deal of variability in this. Patients who receive live donor kidney transplants usually have much shorter waiting times than those who receive kidneys from deceased donors.
Why do some people wait much longer than others?
Kidneys are allocated based on, among other considerations, the match between the donor and recipient blood groups and genetic type (called the tissue type or HLA type). The length of time that a patient waits for a transplant will be influenced by how often donors with kidneys that are well matched to the patient become available. For example, for a patient with a rare tissue type, there will be fewer donors with a tissue type that matches that of the patient well, compared to patients with more common tissue types. Furthermore some patients have antibodies directed against certain tissue types, which means that some, or even most, donor kidneys are not suitable for these patients. Pregnancy, blood transfusions or previous failed transplants can induce these antibodies.
What kind of factors will affect the success of my own transplant?
The success of transplantation is influenced by a number of different factors,some of which are within the control of the patient. Most kidneys that fail in the first year after transplant do so because of rejection. After one year, there are a number of reasons for graft failure and these include death of the patient with a functioning transplant and graft loss due to the patient’s poor compliance with the medication prescribed to them. The risk of death is influenced, not surprisingly, by patient age but smoking, obesity, the presence of other significant diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, and the overall level of fitness are also important. Patients who do not smoke or give up smoking, maintain a good body weight and exercise regularly are more likely to have many years of good quality life with a well functioning kidney.
What is an organ transplant?
An organ transplant replaces a failing organ with a healthy organ. A doctor will remove an organ from another person and place it in your body. This may be done when your organ has stopped working or stopped working well because of disease or injury.
Not everyone is a good candidate for an organ transplant. Your doctor or a transplant center will do tests to see if you are. You probably are not a good candidate if you have an infection, heart disease that is not under control, a drug or alcohol problem, or another serious health problem. If your tests show you are a good candidate, you are put on a waiting list. It may be days, months, or years before a transplant takes place.
How successful is an organ transplant?
Organ transplants have been done in the United States since the 1950s. The procedure is always improving, and transplants are more successful today than ever before. Organ transplant success depends on:
• Which organ is transplanted.
• How many organs are transplanted. For example, you could have a heart transplant
or a heart and lung transplant.
• The disease that has caused your organ to fail.