The phases of chronic kidney disease (CKD) progressing to end-stage kidney disease (ESRD) to renal replacement therapy (RRT, peritoneal dialysis, hemodialysis or renal transplant) is different for each individual and from time to diagnosis that something is wrong with your kidneys to the time you require RRT can be short (on the order of weeks) to very prolonged (years).
Causes of kidney disease run the gamut from systemic diseases such as Diabetes, High Blood pressure, etc to Kidney-toxic drugs (chemotherapy, immunosuppression, painkillers, herbal medications), to infection related (post flu states, recurrent kidney infections), obstruction (kidney stones, cysts, congenital abnormalities, bladder outlet obstruction from prostate disease), intrinsic kidney disease (glomerulonephritis, tubulointerstitial disease), immune related (Goodpastures, Lupus, HUS), cancer (renal cell carcinoma, transitional cell carcinoma, sarcoma), kidney cystic disease, and acute kidney injury just to name a few.
Although dialysis modalities are getting better all the time, it does not represent a cure and can present dialysis specific problems which themselves may become life shortening. Certainly restrictions in travel, energy, fluid intake, diet, activities (swimming, hottubs, baths), etc can also prove bothersome or restrictive to individuals maintained on dialysis. Dialysis is not a cure. Much literature points to the fact that for many populations on dialysis, long term survival is significantly less than their matched population controls and certainly less than those who undergo renal transplantation.
Of course, an organ transplant requires a major surgical procedure which itself has inherent intraoperative and postoperative risks of complications. As well, posttransplant, you will be maintained on a host of immunosuppressive drugs which will allow your body to accept the new organ, but also potentially results in increased risk of certain types of cancers, development of diabetes, and infections. Overall however, literature has well documented the fact that kidney transplant recipients enjoy significantly improved quality and quantity of life compared to their dialysis based comparators.
The pages on the left will walk you through the typical experience of a renal transplant recipient as they go through the transplant experience.
The Transplant Program in BC is very active in various aspects of Research, whether that be in basic science, clinical research, quality assurance, or technology.Learn More