Kidney transplants are a viable long-term solution for kidney failure, offering patients a chance to lead a normal life post-procedure. This method involves implanting a kidney from an organ donor into the patient’s body to replace the damaged kidney. It’s a more favourable option than dialysis, which is restrictive and requires regular sessions.
However, kidney transplants come with their own set of challenges. The cells of the donor’s kidney have protein antigens on their surface that might differ from the patient’s own antigens. This difference can trigger the patient’s immune system to form antibodies against the kidney cell antigens, leading to organ rejection.
To reduce this risk, two precautions are taken:
Despite these precautions, most donor kidneys only survive for an average period of 8-9 years before the patient requires another transplant or a return to dialysis.
In contrast, dialysis is available to all kidney patients and doesn’t require immunosuppressant drugs. However, it’s expensive, impacts the patient’s lifestyle and requires dietary limitations.