If the kidneys are no longer able to function, also known as kidney failure or end-stage renal disease, there are two treatment options available: dialysis or transplant. Patients may receive a kidney transplant if clinically appropriate and there is a good matching donor kidney available. If successful, the transplanted kidney can function as well as or better than the patient's original kidney.
However, there are risks related to kidney transplants. The patient's body may reject/attack the new kidney. To avoid rejection, patients take immunosuppressive medications which may put them at risk of serious infections. The new kidney may not function as well as it should. Some patients may receive multiple kidney transplants over the course of their lifetime.
At UM, we are researching how to improve the success of kidney transplants and to better manage the related side effects and risks.