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What are the criteria for a kidney transplant?

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Quick Answer

Various criteria affect the likelihood of qualifying for a kidney transplant, such as having end-stage renal disease, heart disease or cancer, according to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Other criteria, such as blood type and antibodies, affect who receives what kidney when one becomes available.

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Full Answer

Having end-stage renal disease or being a child with end-stage renal disease and severe growth retardation often qualifies a person for a kidney transplant, explains the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Several factors rule out a kidney transplant or affect the timing of receiving one.

An individual is ineligible if she has a life expectancy of less than 5 years; however, this does not include age, asserts Barnes-Jewish Hospital. If an individual is otherwise healthy, age is not a factor.

Another limiting factor is if an individual has had cancer recently, notes Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Most skin cancers are not a part of this group.

An individual who has had a recent heart attack is ineligible for a kidney transplant, states the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Uncorrectable heart disease disqualifies an individual from receiving a transplant; however, this does not include diabetes and high blood pressure, states Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Recent drug or alcohol abuse, untreatable psychiatric illness, a history of not adhering to treatment, and a lack of health insurance or Medicaid/Medicare coverage make a person ineligible, asserts Barnes-Jewish Hospital. An individual with an active infection is not eligible, adds the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

Blood type and tissue type affect who receives what kidney when it becomes available, states the University of Southern California San Francisco. The recipient and the donor must have the same, or compatible, blood and tissue types. Further, the recipient cannot produce antibodies against the cells of the donor.

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