After contemplating the symptoms, conducting the requisite tests and ensuring that the patient is in need of a kidney transplant, the doctor recommends the surgery. The kidney transplant is a very complicated procedure with its own set of risks and necessary precautions. Various preparations are done before the surgery for the successful transplant to take place. The measures taken post-transplant are as crucial for the patient as the transplant itself.
Preparations begin with evaluating the patient thoroughly by reviewing the patient’s health records, running several lab tests and X-rays to assess and establish whether the patient is able to handle the treatment and the post-transplant symptoms if there would be any.
Patient evaluation test:
Various evaluation tests the patient may go through are as follows:
- Blood and tissue type test
- Heart and lung tests
- Kidney and liver tests
- Colonoscopy (colon test)
- Test for HIV and Hepatitis
- Prostate exam (for males only)
- Mammogram test (for females only)
Once the safety of the patient has been ensured, transplant is good to go.
Finding a match:
The next step is to obtain a suitable kidney match for the patient, of course with the assistance of your transplant team. The donor kidney should be a match for the patient’s body in order for the patient’s immune system to not evoke issues later on.. Only the specific blood group and tissue type will be suitable for a specific recipient. Blood group, under such circumstances, are the deciding roleplay.
Patient with blood group :
- O can receive a kidney from the donor with type O blood only
- A can receive a kidney from the donor with type A or type O blood
- B can receive a kidney from the donor with type B or type O blood
- AB can receive a kidney from the donor with type A, type B, type AB or type O blood
In case of a living donor, the date of transplant can be fixed as to the convenience of both parties. However, in the case of a deceased donor, the patient will be notified and summoned immediately as soon as the kidney becomes available.
- As the transplant is initiated by the transplant team, the patient is laid on its back and is given anesthesia.
- A cut is made over the lower abdomen region and the kidney is placed where it can be easily connected to important blood vessels and bladder which is carefully sewn to the donor’s ureter.
- The patient’s redundant kidneys, however, are not removed from their places. The cut is sewn closed and the patient will stay under medical supervision for about two to four weeks.
The whole procedure lasts for about 3-4 hours. The kidney starts working quickly if it has come from the living donor. However, it takes a little over 3 weeks to kick start filtering in case of a deceased donor, in which case, the patient will be on dialysis until the kidney becomes active.
During the recovery time, the transplant team will decide and adjust the immunosuppressant medicines (commonly referred to as anti-rejection medicines), which stops the body from rejecting or attacking the transplanted kidney. After enough recovery has been attained, the patient will be discharged and free to go home.
This is one of the most crucial stages of the treatment. Thus, it becomes important that the patient is kept under sincere vigilance and care.
Care of the patient during the recovery
Various cautionary actions to be taken in the recovery period which are as follow:
- Regular check-ups should be run on the patient on regular intervals
- Blood tests should be carried several times a week
- Extreme caution must be taken with the dosage of anti-rejection medications
- Even little incongruencies and problematic symptoms must be informed to the doctors immediately so that appropriate action may be taken as soon as possible
- The patient should start working only after the prescribed period of rest and full recovery
- Women should avoid pregnancy soon after the transplant has taken place
- A prescribed diet by the transplant team should be strictly adhered to. Generally, a healthy diet with low fat and low salt is preferable.
- Follow-ups prescribed by the transplant team should be followed with no lack of attentiveness.