Kidney transplant is a process in which a healthy donor kidney will replace a diseased kidney in the recipient. These transplants can be done through living donors or cadaveric donors and in case a cadaveric donor, the transplant has to be done swiftly in order to ensure that the harvested organ to be of good state.
Before a transplant is to be taken place, there are various preparations that needs to be done and without them, the transplant would not last even several weeks or even days. The biggest challenge in these types of surgeries would be the bodies ability to reject the transplanted kidney if it identifies it as a foreign body. As such, the donor kidney should ‘match’ the recipient in all relevant aspects and the ‘transplant evaluation’ would include screening tests to assess the characteristics of the recipient which has to be matched against the donor.
Apart from the matching process, the recipient should have a suitable body status as well as social and financial support to successfully undergo the procedure. Thus, several other steps would also be required in order to prepare the patient for the event. Let us now see the outline of pre-transplant preparations for a possible kidney transplant patient.
In the screening process, the transplant patient has to undergo several blood tests to evaluate the blood group, Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) type and cross matching with the possible donor blood and tissues. Apart from these, the screening would also include the testing for existing diseases such as Hepatitis, CMV and HIV.
The selection of possible donors would be done based on the blood grouping and through matching the HLA sub type and assessing the cross matching. If any of these fail or is not compatible, the transplant would not be possible with that particular donor’s kidney.
Maintenance of health status
A kidney patient awaiting transplant would most likely to be on dialysis and these procedures should be followed exactly as recommended to keep the best possible health status at the time of transplant. At the same time, steps should be taken to correct any underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma…etc and precautions should be taken in order to avoid infections during this time.
Social and financial arrangement
Usually, the patients would be counseled by the financial counselors and social care workers on the aspects related to financial matters, insurance as well as obtaining support services following a transplant. As it would require the patient to be under care for a certain period, such arrangements should be planned before hand as the transplant can take place within short notice.
In case the patient has to travel a long distance to the transplant center, proper arrangements should be made and planned out to prevent delays when the all important call comes.
Apart from the above, a patient to be eligible for transplant, other factors such as the age, fitness for surgery, presence of cancer, alcohol or drug abuse…etc should also be considered.
Transplant waiting list
Once the evaluation and counseling process is being done, the patient would be included in the transplant waiting list. In case the service finds a matching donor, they will inform the patient regarding the possibility of an organ donation and the pre-planned process of kidney transplant would take place thereafter.