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A kidney transplant is used to treat kidney failure (end-stage kidney disease), a condition in which your kidneys can function at only a fraction of normal capacity. People with end-stage kidney disease need either to have waste removed from their bloodstream (dialysis) or a kidney transplant to stay alive.
Common causes of end-stage kidney disease include:
- Chronic, uncontrolled high blood pressure
- Chronic glomerulonephritis — an inflammation and eventual scarring of the tiny filters within your kidneys (glomeruli)
- Polycystic kidney disease
Sometimes kidney disease can be managed with diet, medication and treatment for the underlying cause. If despite these steps your kidneys still can't filter your blood adequately, you might be a candidate for a kidney transplant.
Jan. 24, 2015
- Taal MW, et al. Brenner & Rector's The Kidney. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Partnering with your transplant team: The patient's guide to transplantation. United Network for Organ Sharing. http://www.unos.org/donation/index.php?topic=patient_brochures. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Treatment methods for kidney failure: Transplantation. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/transplant/index.aspx. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Kidney Kaplan-Meier patient survival rates for transplants performed: 1997-2004. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/latestData/rptStrat.asp. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- The kidneys and how they work. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/KUDiseases/pubs/yourkidneys/index.aspx. Accessed May 1, 2014.
- Mai ML (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. Sept. 30, 2014.