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SW Transplant

Kidney Donor Operation

Once transplanted a kidney needs blood supply to work so it is removed with the artery and vein for connection to the recipient's blood vessels. The ureter which drains urine into the bladder, is also removed with the kidney so it can be connected to the patient's bladder later on.

The kidney is thoroughly flushed with a special preservative fluid and then put into a cold container. Sometimes a special machine is used to pump cold fluid through the kidneys to avoid the harmful effects of prolonged storage.

The longer a kidney is without its normal circulation the greater the risk of damaging its filtering mechanism  which may affect the way it works once it is transplanted. Ideally, a kidney should be transplanted as soon as possible.

Kidneys from living donors are usually transplanted within two to three hours as both the donor and recipient are usually operated at the same hospital. In special circumstances organs can be donated in one hospital and then transported to the hospital where the recipient is to be operated.

Kidneys from deceased donors are usually considered for national allocation and often have to be transported to the recipient centre. An effort is made to transplant them as soon as possible but sometimes further tests may be required before transplantation. To prevent problems with kidney function it is recommended that they are transplanted within 24 hours. Kidneys from non-heartbeating donors are being used more frequently, and these should ideally be transplanted within 12 hours.

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