Frequently Asked Questions
Common Kidney Questions
What should I do if I'm told I have kidney disease?
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a fatal disease if not treated. The options for treatment once CKD is established are the same, regardless of cause.
Should I have dialysis or kidney transplant?
Dialysis is a proven and lifesaving treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Any patient can receive dialysis in the US, regardless of their condition or financial circumstances. Unfortunately, dialysis only provides a small fraction of the essential function kidneys provide.
How will a kidney transplant make me better?
Kidney transplantation restores much more of the kidney function than dialysis, and most patients recover strength, energy and a sense of well being, and are expected to be able to live twice as long, as compared to remaining on dialysis.
How safe is kidney transplantation?
The first kidney transplant in the U.S. was performed more than 50 years ago. Today at St. Joseph Hospital Kidney Transplant Center, patient survival and transplant success rates are among the highest in the nation.
How am I evaluated for kidney transplant?
The evaluation for transplant candidacy is a thorough process. The purpose is to determine which treatment, dialysis or transplantation, will give the longest life and best health for each patient.
I've been told I'm not a candidate for kidney transplantation, can I still be evaluated at St. Joseph Hospital?
St. Joseph Hospital Kidney Transplant Center has a history of tackling surgical and medical challenges, often accepting patients turned down by other centers. Every patient on dialysis can be evaluated for transplant, but the team will ultimately recommend what is in the best interest of the patient.
How do I get a kidney?
There are two options for obtaining a kidney: living and
deceased donors. Most transplant candidates are placed on a national waiting list for a deceased donor kidney. However, there are more people on the waiting list than there are available kidneys, which is why an increasing number of transplants are performed with living-donor kidneys today.
How long will I be on the list for a deceased donor kidney?
Depending on your blood type, the average wait for a deceased donor kidney in Southern California is 3 to 8 years.
How long will I be in the hospital for a kidney transplant?
The hospital stay for a kidney transplant patient at St. Joseph Hospital can vary between two and ten days.
Who can be a living donor?
Living donors can be blood-related or emotionally related friends, family or community members.
Is the donor operation safe?
The donor for the world's first successful transplant is still alive and well today 50 years later. The surgery to remove a kidney has undergone many improvements. At St. Joseph Hospital, surgeons perform a minimally invasive "open nephrectomy."
What do I have to do after transplant?
There are several precautions kidney transplant patients need to follow the first year after surgery to help ensure long-term outcomes.
Will I have to go back to the hospital after transplant?
Because organ rejection is a concern after transplant, patients have a schedule of follow-up visits with the transplant center.
What new problems can a kidney transplant cause me?
Although infrequent, the most common complication of a kidney transplant is organ rejection.
If my kidney fails, can I get another one?
Many patients do receive a second kidney (some receive a third or fourth kidney over a lifetime) if the first transplant eventually fails. Every candidate is evaluated individually, and our first priority is always recommending the treatment that offers the best possible outcome.
How will I pay for transplant and medications?
If a kidney transplant is deemed medically necessary, the patient's health insurance covers the majority of the costs.
Who oversees transplantation and transplant centers?
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is contracted by the federal government to administer the deceased donor organ waiting list, as well as collect data regarding patient outcomes.