One of the most common organ transplant procedures that takes place in the world today is the kidney transplant. Because it is such a common procedure, the actual surgery and after-care needs for patients are well documented with best practices so that everyone has a good chance of survival. This includes patients who have been on dialysis. Their transplanted kidney will filter their blood and make it so that dialysis is no longer required.
Facts About Kidney Transplant Survival
1. In the United States, the national 6-month kidney transplant survival rate was 94.4% in 2009.
2. 98% of people who receive a kidney transplant through a living donor will live for at least 1 year after their successful surgery from 2009-2014 numbers.
3. The 5 year survival rate for patients who have received a living donor kidney: 90%.
4. About 94% of adults who receive a kidney transplant from a donor who has become deceases will live for about 1 year.
5. The 5 year survival rate for patients who have received a deceased donor kidney: 82%.
6. The loss of a kidney graft port-transplant has dropped from 5.2% in 1998 down to just 2.7% in 2009.
7. In the United States, the 3-year graft survival rate after transplantation varies between 83% to 94%.
8. In comparison, in the mid 1970s 1‐year patient survival in those over 35 years of age was only around 60% while in the younger adult it was around 85%.
9. Women who wish to become pregnant are usually told to wait for 2 years after receiving a kidney transplant.
10. Life expectancy beyond 10 years for kidney transplant recipients is still considerably less than in the general population, generally because of the long-term stress placed on the cardiovascular system due to kidney failure.
11. In a US Renal Data System analysis of almost 50 ,000 dialysis patients who were placed on the organ transplant waiting list, their long‐term mortality risk was 68% lower among those receiving transplants when compared with patients remaining on the waiting list without receiving a transplant.
12. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death following renal transplantation accounting for 40–55% of all deaths.
13. In long-term tracking of kidney transplant recipients in Glasgow, Scotland, during the first 14 years of the transplant program before 1982, 40% of recipients died because of infection. Infection now occurs in 15-20% of deaths following a kidney transplant.
14. An ERA–EDTA Registry analysis showed that the death rate from ischaemic heart disease in patients on renal replacement therapy was about 5x higher in most countries than in the general population.
15. Smoking after a kidney transplant is associated with a 2.2x higher risk of cardiovascular death when compared to non-smokers who have received a kidney transplant.
16. Skin cancer especially of the squamous cell type is extremely common following organ transplantation and by 20 years post‐transplant will have occurred in 50% of patients.
17. Solid organ cancer is less common with a 20% probability of its development by 20 years post‐transplant.
18. Gastro-intestinal complications account for just 1-2% of deaths that occur after a successful kidney transplant.
19. There are over 102,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list.
20. The wait for a deceased donor could be 5 years, and in some states, it is closer to 10 years.
21. 80% of the people on the waiting list are on kidney dialysis.
22. Over 80% respond yes when asked if they would be an organ and tissue donor, but only 30-40% of Americans actually do designate themselves as donors on their driver’s licenses or on state donor registries.
23. 17,000. That’s the total number of kidney transplants that occur in the United States every year.
24. About 11,000 of the transplants which occur every year are because of kidneys that have been donated by someone else.
25. Nearly 15% of transplant candidates are awaiting a repeat operation.
26. In 2013, 4,485 people on the organ transplant waiting list died without receiving a needed kidney.
27. In the US, most kidney transplant patients can apply for Medicare, which will cover 80% of the cost of the transplant surgery.
28. Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the cost of anti-rejection medicines for up to 36 months unless there are other qualification factors.
29. The long-term mortality rate of transplant recipients is up to 82% lower than for those on dialysis who have never received a transplant.
30. About 94% of the kidneys transplanted from those who have recently died are still functioning well at one year after surgery.
31. 25%. That’s the percentage of living donors that qualify for a kidney donation that are a direct relative of the individual in need of an organ.
32. Over 617,000 total transplants have occurred in the U.S. since 1988.
33. There is no age limit to receive a kidney transplant like there is for other organs, but there is also a preferential evaluation which occurs so those who benefit the most from a new organ will receive the first evaluation for transplantation.
A kidney transplant is most typically recommended when kidney failure has occurred. This may be due to an injury or end-stage kidney disease. There will be waste in the bloodstream of the patient that needs to be removed and ongoing dialysis can be problematic. Diabetes and uncontrolled high blood pressure are the two most common reasons for the development of end-stage kidney disease. Diet changes and medication can sometimes control symptoms, but for some patients, a kidney transplant is their best shot at life.
What Are the Results of a Kidney Transplant?
For those who have recently undergone a kidney transplant, it is important to take action so that the body does not reject the new organ. This often means a requirement to take immune-suppressant drugs for an extended period of time. Some may need to take these drugs for the rest of their lives. Infections can become common, so other medications to control viruses, fungi, and bacteria are also commonly prescribed.
The good news is that most infections today are effectively controlled. The difficulty in the modern kidney transplant is healing the potential cardiovascular damage that has occurred because of renal failure.
If the new kidney fails, dialysis might be resumed. A second transplant might also be considered an option. Some patients may even choose to discontinue their treatment. The goal for every patient is to manage their current health needs while still being able to enjoy a certain quality of life. As the statistics on kidney transplant survival prove, many are seeing positive long-term results with their completed transplants and the survival percentages are only expected to continue growing.