SW Transplant Centre - Changing lives through medical care

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Questions and answers

General
Q: Am I too old for a transplant?
A: Age is not a restriction, but your health will be a factor in the assessment process.

Q: Is a transplant a cure for my renal failure?
A: Transplantation is not a cure but another form of tratment. However if your transplant is working well your quaslity of life will improve considerable and often patietns can restart things they had to stop when their kidneys The average life span for a deceased donor kidney is 10 years and for a live donor kidney is 15 years. There is a wide range in these figures but when the kidney fails you will need to return to dialysis and/or have a further transplant.

Q: What are the differences between heart beating and controlled non heart beating deceased donors?
A: A heart beating deceased donor has been diagnosed brain stem dead and can donate multiple organs whilst still on the ventilator. A controlled non-heart beating donor has died (the heart has stopped beating) and the liver and kidneys can be donated a few minutes later.

The waiting list
Q: How long will I be on the waiting list before I have a transplant?
A: Unfortunately there are more people requiring a transplant than there are donors. The average is just over one year but this will vary considerably from a few days to much longer depending on your matchability score

The operation
Q: How long will I have to stay in hospital?
A: You can expect to be discharged from hospital within 7-10 days after your transplant, providing you are making a good recovery and your new kidney is working well.

Q: How long will I be off work?
A: This is variable but most people should be back after about 8 weeks, depending on the type of work you do. Once you feel able to do so you will not be doing any harm as long as you can still attend for your all your follow-up clinic appointments.

After the transplant and beyond

Immune system
Q: Am I more likely to pick up infections once I have had a transplant?
A: The anti rejection medication that you will need to take suppresses your immune system to prevent your body rejecting your new kidney. This also means that you will be more likely to pick up infections.

Q: What is CMV?
A: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a virus that a large percentage of the general population has been exposed to and have passed off as having flu. The virus remains dormant by your immune system. In transplant patients the CMV virus can be reactivated, as the immune system is suppressed by the anti rejection medication. The virus can sometimes also be passed on to the recipient from the donor kidney if the donor had been exposed to CMV. All recipients who are at risk of CMV will be closely monitored by way of regular blood tests.

Q: What is the treatment for CMV?
A: Active CMV above a predetermined level will be treated with an anti viral drug called Valganciclovir, which will be prescribed for a 3-week course. Repeat courses may sometimes be required.

Going on holiday
Q: Can I go on holiday after my transplant?
A: Yes you can, but we ask you to wait 12 months before going overseas.

Q: What SPF sun cream should I use?
A: We recommend you use a minimum of SPF 30 or higher year round, Higher overseas.

Q: Should I use lip balm?
A: Yes we recommend a lip balm with a SPF 30 or higher.

Q: Why do I need to wear sun cream year round?
A: Due to the immunosuppression drugs used, transplant patients are at increased risk of developing skin cancers.

Driving
Q: How soon can I drive after a transplant?
A: You are safe to drive once you can make an emergency stop without pain. However you should contact your insurance company before starting to drive again as they impose a set time limit.

Having a family
Q: Can we have children now that I have had a transplant?
A: Yes it may now be possible for you to have children. Men can become fertile again after transplantation and women can possibly become pregnant. We would recommend that you wait at least 12 months before trying to become pregnant and discuss the possibility with your renal Consultant.
 


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