Definition and General Data
Kidney transplantation is done in the patients who are suffering from terminal renal failure where both kidneys have lost their function and patients are doomed to either dialysis for a lifetime or there is an option for them to receive a new kidney. These patients are considered lucky as transplantation is not possible in every patient. Kidney transplantation is one of the most commonly performed transplantations in the United States. The donor may be a living person (someone who is or may not be related to a patient) or a kidney can be obtained from a corpse (dead person).
There are numerous diseases that lead to terminal renal failure. In majority of cases the cause of this severe condition is diabetes. Still some other conditions can be fatal for kidneys. People who are not suitable to receive a new kidney are those who are suffering from tuberculosis and osteomyelitis. Additionally those who have problems with heart, lungs or liver are not perfect candidates for transplantation. Patients ill with cancer, alcoholics and smokers cannot be subjected to transplantation.
Complications of Renal Transplantation
Rejection is one of the most common complications. Rejection means that the body does not want to accept new, foreign tissue. Namely human immune system produces antibodies to every foreign tissue and organism that enters the body. These antibodies are in charge of fighting against newcomers. This is what actually happens after the transplantation. However, this complication is nowadays appropriately avoided by usage of immunosuppressive medications. These medications reduce the activity of immune system hence prevent possible rejection.
Increased susceptibility to infection can be again explained by immunosuppressive medications. Immune system cannot function to full extend and the infective agents can multiply without limitations. This is why patients who have received a new kidney are prone to infections more than general population. These infections tend to linger and are harder to be treated.
Development of cancers is another consequence of immunosuppression.
• Complications Connected to Heart and Diabetes
After transplantation a patient is prone to high blood pressure and increased levels of cholesterol. These two are preconditions for further stroke or heart attack. Diabetes mellitus may be both cause of terminal renal failure and the complication of transplantation. Together with high blood pressure diabetes leads to severe damage to the heart and blood vessels.
• Additional Complications
There are several more complications that are not so severe and life-threatening. They include receding hair, edematous gums and acne. One may even gain weight.