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How Do I Qualify to be a Kidney Transplant Recipient?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2014
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In order to qualify to be a kidney transplant recipient, you generally have to meet a certain set of requirements. First, you will need to have end stage kidney failure which has not responded well to treatment. It may also be required that kidney failure be your only remaining health problem, meaning that all others are either cured or being effectively managed. You may also have to meet certain insurance requirements and avoid certain activities or substances.

Kidney failure is a condition in which the kidneys are no longer able to work correctly. This can be caused by another illness or disease, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure or diabetes. These conditions are generally treatable, but sometimes the kidneys remain non-functioning even after the underlying cause is effectively resolved.

You may qualify as a potential kidney transplant recipient if your kidneys are working below a certain level and if no treatments are working. Dialysis can take the place of the kidneys for a period of time, but it is not ideal. When all other options for treatment have been exhausted you may qualify as a kidney transplant recipient.

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Other factors may play a role in whether you will be given a transplant. One main factor is the availability of a donor who can supply the kidney. Only one is needed for proper function, so a living donor is often the first option. This will generally be a friend or family member who is a close enough match in tissue to donate. If there is no living donor available, you will be placed on a waiting list so you can receive from a deceased donor.

If you do find a donor, there are other things your doctors will consider before performing a transplant. First, if you use alcohol regularly or do illegal drugs, you will not qualify as a kidney transplant recipient. You will have to remain clean and sober for a certain length of time before being eligible for a transplant. Your insurance will also play a role, since you will need to ensure that you are covered for a transplant in your condition before proceeding.

Finally, your doctors will want to make sure you are in good enough condition to undergo surgery before you will qualify to be a kidney transplant recipient. This will require stabilizing your condition through dialysis and keeping a close watch on other health conditions which may make operating more difficult. Kidney failure can lead to additional problems, so a transplant will likely be needed as soon as possible.

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