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FAQ's

FAQ’S FOR KIDNEY RECIPIENTS

I am a kidney failure patient on dialysis; from whom can I get a kidney?

You can get kidney from either of the following:
  • Kidney from a healthy living donor.
  • Kidney from a person who is Brain Stem Dead (a Deceased Donor).

Who cannot get a kidney transplant?

Each patient is evaluated on a case-by-case basis; almost any person with renal failure can get a kidney transplant. Recipients above the age of sixty can also be registered and will be considered for allocation of kidneys from donors above the age of sixty or of other kidneys not matched or accepted by recipients below the age of sixty.

Is there a weight restriction?

No.

Can my child get a transplant?

Yes, children can also get transplants if matched with a suitable donor.

Which is better – dialysis or transplant?

Transplant is a better option. On average transplant patients live longer than patients on dialysis. Dialysis patients have to come to dialysis unit thrice a week or have thrice a day peritoneal dialysis at home. Transplanted patients enjoy a better quality of life, have more liberal salt and fluid intake, go to their work as usual, and have normal family life. Also, in the long run, transplant is more economical. Transplant puts the patient back into society as he was before kidney failure.

When is the best time to get a transplant?

In general, as early as possible, once dialysis is initiated. The transplant team and your nephrologists will determine the best time for you.

What medications will I have to take after the transplant?

Anti-rejection medications are to be taken as long as you have your transplanted kidney.

Following transplant, patients usually take:
  • Medication to prevent kidney rejection.
  • Medications for other health issues (blood pressure, diabetes, etc.)

How long will I be in the hospital?

Patients typically spend from 7 to 10 days in the hospital following kidney transplant surgery.

What would happen if kidney transplant didn’t work?

If transplanted kidney does not work, your Nephrologist may do blood test and perform kidney biopsy and treat accordingly.

What would happen if kidney transplant didn’t work despite all treatments? Would I die?

No.

If the transplanted kidney doesn’t work, you can:
  • Continue dialysis.
  • Pursue another transplant.

What can patients do if they want a transplant but don’t have a suitable living donor?

Patients who do not have a living donor whose kidney will match; can register on a state waiting list to get a deceased donor transplant (cadaveric donor).

How do I get on the state waiting list?

You first decide on the hospital where you wish to get the transplant done and then ask your Nephrologists in that hospital to put you on the common wait list after paying a onetime fee through a DD of Rs. 1000/- in favor of “Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu”. You will then be registered and be given your wait list number. Transplant coordinator of the hospital will guide you on this. Registration through Government Hospitals is done free of cost.

How will I get the kidney once I get on the wait list?

Whenever there is a brain stem dead person in any of the participating hospitals, the organs are allocated to persons in the wait list. First few in the wait list will be alerted. Recipient tests will be performed by your doctor. Also, cross match test between first few recipients and brain stem dead donor will get carried out simultaneously. After these tests, the topmost listed fit recipient will be allocated the kidney.

How long is the average waiting time for a kidney?

Most patients wait for one to two years for a kidney from the deceased donor waiting list. If you want to get a kidney from a deceased donor, the important thing to do is to get on the list as soon as possible. Any patient who is on Dialysis for at least 2 months can get registered.

The first thing is, of course, to explore the possibility of living donor transplants from your relatives.

Is the waiting list fair?

Strict rules and Government orders have been set up to make sure that no one can jump the waiting list. Above all, there is full transparency to the waiting list. The waiting list is accessible to the hospitals where the patients can check their rankings. Matching is based on blood type and the wait time. Your income, caste or creed does not prevent you from receiving a kidney, nor do they move you up/down on the list. For kidney recipients, there is no URGENT wait list either.

How is Kidney allocated to patients on the waiting list?

The 2 kidneys from a donor are termed as local kidney and share kidney. Local kidney is allocated to a patient from the hospital where the donor is. The hospital can allocate it to a registered patient of the same blood group as the donor on their waiting list as per the priority listing in the hospital. The share kidney is allocated to the registered patient who is first on the common waiting list with the same blood group. Kidneys are allocated to patients 60+ years from donors who are 60+ years after the patients below 60 years on the common waiting list have declined the offer.

Is there a difference between having a living or deceased donor transplant?

Yes. Live related donor transplant provides better results. Living donor transplants last longer than deceased donor transplants. Because a living donor kidney is removed from a healthy donor in the operating room and transplanted right away, living donor transplants last on average for 15-20 years and deceased donor transplants last for 10-15 years. This is only an average and quite a good number of transplants last much longer.

Which kind of transplant happens faster?

If a living donor is available, a living donor transplant happens faster, often within 3 months. With a deceased donor transplant, most patients have to wait 1-2 years until a kidney is available from the list.

Is it possible for me to buy a kidney from a live donor?

Such transactions are illegal and punishable. None should attempt that.

I am willing to give my Kidney to any person with my blood group, can you arrange for someone else to give their kidney with      my kin’s blood group to my kin?

This is called swapping; it is legally acceptable. You can contact your nephrologists for more detail.

Can I be on more than one hospital wait list to get kidney from a brain dead donor?

No. You are allowed to be on only one hospital wait list at a given time. It will be the hospital where you have decided to get your transplant surgery done.

Can I change my hospital after I register through one hospital?

You are at liberty to shift to any hospital (approved by the Government for transplant) of your choice in Tamil Nadu. You can change your hospital and request the new hospital to send in your detail to us by mail and you will need to send a handwritten letter requesting us to change your registration from the previous hospital to the new one. This will not affect your priority in getting a share kidney allocated from the common pool. It is your date of registration in the wait list the first time you registered through any hospital that will determine your priority in getting the share kidney allotted.

Which is the best hospital to get this transplant done?

You can view the list of hospitals registered under our program for cadaver transplant as given on this website and call and visit them and decide where you are comfortable and make the decision.

Can you tell me how much a kidney transplant will cost me?

Two costs are involved. One is the cost of surgery and the other is the cost of the medication you need to be on for lifetime after the surgery, in order to ensure that your body does not reject the kidney transplanted. The later is called immunosuppression.

In Government hospitals (GH, Stanley, KMC Hospitals at Chennai) you will get free transplant surgery and thereafter free immunosuppressive medicines for lifetime.

Patients holding CM Comprehensive Health Scheme cards will get free transplant and free medication for one year in select private hospitals approved by the Government for this purpose.

As for private hospitals in general, you need to ask each of them their transplant surgery and follow up test costs. Immunosuppressive medication will cost approximately Rs 1.2 Lakhs per annum during the first year. It may go down in subsequent years.

Are there any blood products I should try to avoid?

Yes. Kidney patients should try to avoid receiving any blood products (whole blood, plasma, platelets, red blood cells) because this can increase antibody levels in your blood. High levels of antibodies make it difficult to find a tissue matched donor.

In case I would like to defer my transplant when my name comes up for the transplant, then will I be allowed to stay on the wait    list?

Yes, you will be. During this time your status will change from being “active” on the kidney waiting list to being "inactive". During the time when you're listed as inactive, your wait list status remains same. However, you will not be called for deceased-donor transplant as your status is inactive. Once you are fit and willing, your nephrologists or transplant coordinator can make your status “active”.

The reasons for being inactive vary, but might include health changes such as infection or hospitalizations or any personal reason you may have. Once you are ready you will be put back as active and have the chance for a transplant without losing your priority.

What is a cross match?

Blood from both donor and recipient are taken to test the presence of preformed antibodies in the recipient’s blood against the donor’s organ. You will be taken up for transplant only if cross match test is negative

How long do I need to go for a checkup after the transplant?

You need to go for regular medical checkups throughout your life after the transplant. Initially; for six weeks, the patient has to go on alternate days for a check- up, when blood tests will be done and medicines adjusted and if needed an ultrasound of the kidney will be done. Once the patient is stable on the medications, then, he needs to go for check-up once in 3 months, when an ultrasound of the kidney and blood tests will be done to check the functioning of the kidney and adjust medicines as needed. Once the patient is stable on this routine, then, he can go in for checkups once in 6 months. However, if needed, the patient should go in for a check- up as needed.

However lifelong medicines and periodic blood tests and regular consultations are necessary to get the full benefit of transplant. Also it is useful to remember that transplant replaces only the kidney and if you have other medical problems like diabetes, heart disease, high BP and such other, you require extra care. You are also prone to infections and hence lifelong monitoring is needed.