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Kidney Transplant

For patients with end-stage kidney disease, there are two courses of treatment: dialysis and kidney transplant. A kidney transplant is an operation (surgery) in which a person with kidney failure receives a new kidney.
About kidney transplant

Kidney transplantation is the preferred treatment option for most people with end-stage kidney disease. A successful kidney transplant usually provides a better quality of life because it may mean greater freedom, more energy and a less strict diet. 

Kidney transplantation is the preferred treatment option for most people with end-stage kidney disease. A successful kidney transplant usually provides a better quality of life because it may mean greater freedom, more energy and a less strict diet.  

Kidneys can come from living or deceased donors.  

Living donor kidney transplant: A living donor may be someone in your immediate or extended family, or it may be your spouse or a close friend. In some cases, a living donor may even be a stranger who wishes to donate a kidney to someone in need of a transplant.

Deceased donor kidney transplant: A deceased donor is someone who has chosen to donate his or her organs upon death. In situations where the wishes of the deceased donor are not known, family members may consent to organ donation. 

What you need to know

Kidney transplantation is excellent therapy for patients with end-stage kidney disease; however, a transplant may not be suitable for everyone. There are also different steps to follow if you’re considering a living donor transplant. 

Every potential kidney transplant patient must be carefully assessed. The assessment phase starts when your specialist refers you to the Renal Transplant Program. 

In order to be eligible for a kidney transplant, you must be a BC resident with a Personal Care Card Number and be referred by your Nephrologist to the Renal Transplant Program at Vancouver General Hospital or St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver.

For both living donors and recipients, a comprehensive profile of your personal, medical and family history will be compiled through the assessment process. You’ll be interviewed by various team members to determine whether transplantation is the best treatment option. You’ll also receive information that will help you decide whether you want to go ahead with the transplant or donation.

The routine assessment includes consultation with the members of the transplant team comprised of a nephrologist, transplant surgeon, clinical coordinator, social worker, dietitian and psychologist. If required, appointments will also be arranged with specialists from other disciplines. 
Following a kidney transplant, you can expect to spend approximately 5 to 7 days on the transplant unit. Following surgery you will be closely monitored for infection and rejection of your new kidney. 

You’ll also be required to take various medications following your transplant as a preventative measure against commonly occurring infections and rejection. These medications are covered by BC Transplant with your valid BC Care Card Number.

For more information on managing your care, please visit our Medications page. For more info on what to expect as a living kindey donor, please visit the Living Donation page.  

Kidney transplant resources

Kidney transplants are the most common solid organ transplants performed in BC. To help guide you through both the living donor and deceased donor transplant routes, please refer to the resources below:

Living donation

Please visit the Living Donation page.

Deceased donation

  • Please see the guides in the Related Document section.

More information?

If you have questions about the kidney transplant process, please contact the Renal Transplant Programs directly.

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