A kidney transplant may be used to treat ESRD. A healthy kidney from a donor is placed into your body. The kidney will take over the work for the 2 kidneys that are not working. The donated kidney must be a match. A match can come from a relative, friend, or someone you do not know. Donors can be living or deceased.
A new, working kidney will help you feel better quickly. But, there is a risk the new kidney can be rejected. Your body sees the new kidney as a foreign invader and tries to get rid of it. The risk goes down over time, but it will always be there. Signs of rejection may include:
A transplant care team will also watch for signs of rejection.
Medicines can help prevent rejection. They work by making the immune system weaker. This makes it harder for the body to get rid of the new kidney. The medicines need to be taken for life.
Some problems are:
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd-in-adults. Updated January 18, 2019. Accessed July 9, 2019.
Kidney transplant. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidney-failure/kidney-transplant. Updated January 2018. Accessed July 9, 2019.
Kidney transplant. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidney-transplant. Accessed July 9, 2019.
Preventing rejection. United Network for Organ Sharing website. Available at: https://transplantliving.org/after-the-transplant/preventing-rejection. Accessed July 9, 2019.
Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 10/4/2019