This department monitors and assesses patients with kidney (renal) problems.
Nephrologists (kidney specialists) will liaise with the transplant team in cases of kidney transplants.
They also supervise the dialysis day unit for people who are waiting for a kidney transplant or who are unable to have a transplant for any reason.
A kidney transplant is the transfer of a healthy kidney from one person into the body of a person who has little or no kidney function.
The main role of the kidneys is to filter waste products from the blood and convert them to urine. If the kidneys lose this ability, waste products can build up, which is potentially life-threatening.
This loss of kidney function, known as end-stage chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, is the most common reason for needing a kidney transplant.
It’s possible to partially replicate the functions of the kidney using a blood filtering procedure known as dialysis. However, this can be inconvenient and time-consuming, so a kidney transplant is the treatment of choice for kidney failure whenever possible.
Who can have a kidney transplant?
Most people who need a kidney transplant are able to have one, regardless of their age, as long as:
- they’re well enough to withstand the effects of surgery
- the transplant has a relatively good chance of success
- the person is willing to comply with the recommended treatments required after the transplant – such as taking immunosuppressant medication and attending regular follow-up appointments
Living with a kidney transplant
Having a healthy lifestyle after a kidney transplant goes a long way to minimise the risk of complications.
Therefore, it’s recommended that you:
- stop smoking if you smoke
- eat a healthy diet
- lose weight if you are overweight or obese
- take steps to reduce your risk of developing infections
Read more about living with a transplant.
How long do kidney transplants last?
There are a number of factors which affect how long a transplanted kidney lasts.
These include whether or not the kidney came from a living donor, how well the kidney is matched in terms of blood group and tissue type, and the age and overall health of the person receiving the donation.
Overall, average kidney survival times are:
- 1 year – about 95%
- 5 years – about 85-90%
- 10 years – about 75%
If you have a kidney transplant that fails, you can usually be put on the waiting list for another transplant. You may need dialysis in the meantime.