What are the kidney diseases needing kidney transplant?

August 12, 2023 Lifestyle Diseases 134 Views

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What are the kidney diseases that need kidney transplant ?

Kidney transplant is a medical procedure typically considered for patients who have kidney diseases like- end-stage kidney disease (ESRD) or advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) when their kidneys are no longer functioning well enough to sustain life. 

The most common kidney diseases that may necessitate a kidney transplant include: 

End-stage kidney disease (ESRD): This is the final stage of chronic kidney disease when the kidneys have lost almost all of their function (usually less than 15% of normal kidney function).

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) progression: In some cases, individuals with CKD may experience a rapid decline in kidney function, leading to the need for a transplant.

Diabetic nephropathy: Uncontrolled diabetes can cause damage to the kidneys over time, leading to kidney failure, and may require a kidney transplant.

Hypertensive nephropathy: Prolonged, uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD): A genetic condition characterized by the formation of fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys, which can eventually lead to kidney failure.

Glomerulonephritis: This refers to inflammation of the glomeruli, the filtering units of the kidneys, and if it becomes severe and chronic, it can lead to kidney failure.

Autoimmune diseases: Certain autoimmune disorders like lupus nephritis, where the body’s immune system attacks the kidneys, can lead to kidney damage and failure.

Congenital kidney abnormalities: Some individuals are born with structural kidney problems that can lead to chronic kidney disease over time.

Refractory kidney stones: Rarely, recurrent kidney stones or other severe kidney conditions might require a transplant.

The decision to undergo a kidney transplant is made by a team of healthcare professionals, including nephrologists and transplant surgeons, who evaluate the patient’s overall health, medical history, and potential risks and benefits of the transplant procedure. Additionally, not everyone with kidney failure is a suitable candidate for transplantation, and other factors, such as age and overall health, may also influence the decision.

(Know more about- What is Acute Kidney Failure?)

What are the congenital kidney diseases? 

Congenital kidney diseases, also known as congenital kidney anomalies or congenital renal disorders, refers to a group of kidney conditions that occur during foetal development. These kidney diseases affect the structure and function of one or both kidneys and are present at birth. 

Congenital kidney diseases are typically caused by abnormal kidney development in the womb, and they can vary in severity from mild to life-threatening. 

Some common examples of congenital kidney diseases include:

  • Renal agenesis: This condition occurs when one or both kidneys fail to develop. Unilateral renal agenesis means one kidney is missing, while bilateral renal agenesis means both kidneys are absent. Bilateral renal agenesis is usually fatal shortly after birth.
  • Renal hypoplasia: In renal hypoplasia, one or both kidneys are underdeveloped and smaller than normal, which can affect their ability to function properly.
  • Multicystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK): MCDK is a condition in which one kidney has multiple cysts and non-functional tissue, while the other kidney usually functions normally.
  • Polycystic kidney disease (PKD): Although PKD can be hereditary, some cases are congenital. It involves the formation of fluid-filled cysts in the kidneys, leading to kidney enlargement and potential kidney function impairment.
  • Ureteropelvic junction obstruction (UPJO): This condition is characterised by a blockage or narrowing at the junction where the ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder) connects to the kidney pelvis. It can cause urine to back up and put pressure on the kidney.
  • Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR): VUR is a condition where urine flows backward from the bladder into the ureters and potentially into the kidneys. It can lead to kidney infections and kidney damage.
  • Congenital nephrotic syndrome: This rare condition affects the filtering units (glomeruli) in the kidneys and leads to excessive protein loss in the urine.

Congenital kidney diseases may be diagnosed before birth through prenatal ultrasound examinations, or they may be identified shortly after birth if they cause noticeable symptoms or complications.

The treatment and management of congenital kidney diseases depend on the specific condition and its severity. In some cases, the affected kidney may need surgical intervention, while others may require ongoing medical monitoring and care to manage kidney function and prevent complications.

How early can congenital kidney diseases be diagnosed?

Congenital kidney diseases can be diagnosed as early as during routine prenatal ultrasound examinations, which are usually performed between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. During these ultrasound scans, the baby’s organs, including the kidneys, are examined to check for any abnormalities.

Some congenital kidney diseases, such as renal agenesis (absence of one or both kidneys) and multicystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK), are often detected during prenatal ultrasounds due to their significant impact on kidney size and structure.

In cases where congenital kidney diseases are suspected or identified during prenatal ultrasounds, further testing and evaluations may be recommended, such as:

  • Fetal MRI: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can provide more detailed images of the fetal kidneys and surrounding structures, helping to confirm or clarify the diagnosis.
  • Genetic testing: In some instances, genetic testing may be conducted to identify specific genetic abnormalities associated with congenital kidney diseases.
  • Amniocentesis: This is a procedure in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is extracted and analysed to look for genetic conditions and other abnormalities.
  • Follow-up ultrasounds: If an abnormality is noted during the initial ultrasound, the healthcare team may recommend follow-up ultrasounds to monitor the development of the kidneys throughout the pregnancy.

Early diagnosis of congenital kidney diseases is crucial as it allows healthcare professionals to develop appropriate management plans and provide specialised care after birth. Depending on the specific condition and its severity, interventions may be planned, and arrangements for delivery and postnatal care can be made to ensure the best possible outcomes for the baby and their kidneys. In advanced cases of kidney diseases, kidney transplant is needed. There are best hospitals in India where kidney transplant is done with great success. You may contact these hospitals to know more about congenital kidney diseases, kidney transplant, cost of kidney transplant in India and other cities of India. 


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