Kidney is the vital organ responsible for the filtration of bloodstream for toxins, waste materials, excess water from the body. It also helps in converting vitamin D into its usable form in the body. Due to various factors when the kidneys totally stop functioning which in case is known as End stage renal disease, the patient has to either undergo dialysis or a kidney replacement (transplant) from an organ donor who might or might not be deceased.
REASONS FOR KIDNEY FAILURE
There are various reasons for kidney failure which are as follows:
- In case of acute diabetes the kidneys fail to filter out the blood normally.
- Formation of cysts in the kidneys. This could be hereditary too.
- Hypertension causes the arteries in and around the kidney to narrow and eventually fail to function.
- Glomeruli where the kidneys get inflamed affecting the walls of the fibrous filters.
- Injury to kidney due to a major accident.
HEMODIALYSIS VS KIDNEY TRANSPLANT
Hemodialysis is a process where an external machine known as a dialyzer is attached to the patient with a graft. This blood from the patient is transferred to the dialyzer where it filters the blood just like an artificial kidney and then transfers the filtered blood into the body through tubes. This has to be done either thrice a week or almost everyday depending upon the patient’s body.
The patient is suggested for hemodialysis until the next kidney transplant. A kidney transplant is suggested over hemodialysis because of a few reasons which are as follows:
- Process of hemodialysis could be slightly painful at times.
- Requires an external machine every time to filter blood.
- May require to come to hospital on a frequent basis to perform dialysis.
- Life expectancy of a person with a transplanted kidney is much more than the one under dialysis.
- Kidney transplant is a one time process with less frequent visits to hospital for general checkup.
A kidney transplant is suggested when both the kidneys have totally stopped functioning.
Note: Everyone can afford a kidney transplant as dialysis costs a few thousands per session whereas a kidney transplant costs about a few lakhs, depending upon the hospital. Secondly a right match of a donor should be available for the transplant.
IS IT LEGAL TO TRANSPLANT A KIDNEY?
Yes, since 1994 according to the Transplantation of Human Organs ACT, which was passed by the Government of India it is absolutely legal to transplant a kidney through a donor who may or may not be deceased for therapeutic purposes only and not for commercial purposes.
PROCESS OF KIDNEY TRANSPLANT
The patient would be on a waiting list waiting for a deceased donor’s kidney to be transplanted or the patient’s surgery could also be performed at the earliest if any family member or a friend is ready to be a donor:
- After the consent from the donor is taken, the donor is ready to donate the kidney. Few medical examinations and medical history might be taken so that the kidney matches to that of the patient.
- Once everything is done, the patient and donor both are given anesthesia as both the bodies would be operated at the same time.
- Post the effect of anesthesia, the surgeon makes an incision and removes the kidney known as Nephrectomy.
- Another surgeon does the required preparations on the patient’s body so that it is compatible for a new kidney placement.
- Donated kidney is placed in the patient while the originally non functioning kidneys remain in their relevant position.
- The surgical incisions on both the donor and patient are closed.
- The patient is kept under observation and few other tests would be done based upon the doctor’s advi.
- Post observation both the donor and patient are discharged.
- A timely follow up with the nephrologist is to be done by the patient until a year.
- Various medications are to be followed without fail to keep up with a healthy immunity and so that the body does not reject the new kidney.
- Additional drugs to reduce the risk of various infections and complications are given which are to be taken on timely basis.
- A healthy lifestyle and utmost hygiene is to be maintained for a healthy functioning of the heart.
FACTS REGARDING KIDNEY DONATION:
- A person can survive with just 1 kidney. Hence donors can still live a healthy and active lifestyle as always.
- Donating kidney is legal but selling of kidney is not.