Types of Renal Transplant

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There are two types of renal transplants depending on the source of kidney:

Deceased Donor (brain dead, cadaveric) Transplant

Brain death is sudden death after an accident, brain haemorrhage or stroke with irreversible brain damage, not compatible with life. Brain dead patients may be artificially maintained on a ventilator and supportive medicines for a short duration and may be able to donate their organs for transplantation, if their family desires. Donation by a single deceased donor can enable as many as nine lifesaving organ transplants and numerous life-enhancing tissue replacements.

Kidneys from deceased donors are matched with recipient’s blood group and offered to the first patient on the waiting list, and if suitable, transplanted. Unfortunately, the number of patients in need of a transplant far outnumbers the availability of such organs; therefore, not all patients are able to undergo a deceased donor renal transplant.

Living Donor Transplant

Living donors can donate one of a paired organ such as a kidney. Living donors are family members or close relatives of the patient. The diseased kidney is replaced with a kidney from a healthy human donor (usually an immediate relative of the patient for example father, mother, sibling, spouse, children, grandfather, grandmother or grandchildren)

In India, more than 80% of transplants are from living donors 

Living donor kidney transplant is technically more complex than deceased donor kidney transplantation, but can be safely performed at experienced surgeons at established institutes.

Advantages of Living Donor Transplants are:

  • Living donors are healthy people with a perfectly healthy kidney, and go through a rigorous process of evaluation, therefore the chances of kidney not working after transplantation is very minimal.
  • Better genetic match between living donors and candidates may decrease the risk of organ rejection.
  • It is an elective, planned operation allowing doctors to schedule the transplant at an optimum time, This is especially important for patients who are very sick and need stabilization before surgery.
  • Donation is a positive experience and most donors experience a sense of heroism in being able to save or dramatically change the recipient’s life.