Busting the Top Three Myths about Kidney Transplants
Nearly 103,000 people are awaiting a lifesaving kidney transplant nationwide. Every 10 minutes, another name is added to the national transplant waiting list. And, still, myths persist about kidney transplants. We asked the Memorial Transplant Services team to debunk some of the more common myths surrounding kidney transplants and donation.
Myth: Receiving a kidney transplant will cure my kidney disease.
Fact: Transplantation is a treatment option for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or kidney failure–not a cure.
As with all treatments, there are advantages and disadvantages of kidney transplant, and patients will need to continue treatment throughout their lives.
“Although transplant most closely mimics our natural human design, transplant recipients must take lifelong medication that lowers their immune system, in order to prevent rejection,” said Chris Deters, certified clinical transplant coordinator with Memorial Transplant Services.
Myth: I have to be on dialysis to get listed for a kidney transplant.
Fact: The preference is for patients to receive transplants before they need dialysis.
“Ideally, we try and transplant patients who are pre-dialysis before their function declines to the point where treatment is needed,” said Rachel Bounds, RN, MSN, a transplant nurse for the program.
Myth: I must be related to the kidney recipient in order to be a living donor.
Fact: Kidney recipients are able to receive a transplant from related and non-related donors.
While blood type compatibility is a major requirement for transplant, other requirements include absence of hypertension, diabetes or other limiting health. The best kidney match is a healthy kidney that fits this criteria–from family or not.