Your Child & Chronic Kidney Disease - Transplantation
Even if dialysis works well it is only regarded as a short term treatment until a kidney transplant becomes available for your child. Growth and development are usually better after a transplant. Life is more normal and over time children will need to visit the hospital less often.
Occasionally children avoid dialysis altogether and go from conservative treatment to transplantation (pre-emptive transplantation).
A kidney may be donated by a family member (living related donor). This means a close relative such as mother, father, sister or brother. If you wish to be considered as a possible donor, make your views known to the kidney specialist or team member.
Most kidneys used for transplantation come from accident victims who have died in hospital (deceased donor). Details of each patient waiting for a transplant are held on a national computer in Bristol. The time that your child will have to wait will depend upon his/her tissue type and how closely he/she matches the donated kidney.
PREPARATION FOR THE RENAL TRANSPLANT
You and your child will be given information and preparation before he/she is put on the transplant list. This will be undertaken by the named nurse, play specialist or psychologist. Do feel free to ask questions as it is appreciated that it is a time of anxiety for all concerned. Special blood tests will be required before the transplant. These will include ‘tissue typing’ and testing for antibodies to viruses such as the hepatitis and AIDS virus. Your child may also require additional immunisations. Special bladder X-rays may also be required. Further details are included in “Kidney Transplantation in Children”.
THE RENAL TRANSPLANT OPERATION
The transplant kidney is placed in the abdominal cavity in the groin area. All that you will see is the scar and maybe a slight bulge. In younger children the kidney may be placed deep inside the abdomen.
Following the operation your child may need to spend the first few days in the intensive care or high dependency unit as the kidney function needs to be monitored closely and many tubes may be in place.
Frequent blood tests will be necessary following the transplant. Your child may also require a scan to check how the new kidney is working. If the kidney is not working well then a biopsy may be needed. At all times the staff will try to keep your child free of pain and discomfort.
Before your child goes home after a successful transplant the nurse will discuss with you the importance of the drug treatment, signs of rejection and the arrangements for clinic visits.
The kidney team will work with local medical teams and families to provide supportive medical care in an appropriate environment.
Content compiled by members of the Children’s Renal & Urology Unit, QMC Campus, Nottingham University Hospitals.
The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.