Living Donor Kidney Transplant

What is a living donor kidney transplant?

A living donor kidney transplant (LDKT) is an operation where a kidney from a healthy living person (the donor) is removed and placed into someone with end-stage kidney disease (the recipient).

This is usually done without the removal of the recipient's own kidneys.

Why do you need a living donor kidney transplant?

A successful living donor kidney transplant (LDKT) could save your life if you are suffering from end-stage kidney disease. The new kidney can take over the function of the diseased kidneys, and allow your body to self-regulate fluid and electrolyte balance, as well as produce hormones necessary for good bone health and red blood cell production.

The 5 and 10-year survival rates of dialysis vs transplant patients in Singapore are 57.2% vs 93.6%, and 32.7% vs 85.3%, respectively*. This is due to increased cardiovascular complications present in dialysis patients.

(Source: Singapore Renal Registry Annual Report 2019)

Kidney dialysis vs kidney transplant

Compared with dialysis, kidney transplantation offers the following benefits:

  • Better survival outcomes, with at least 90% of transplanted patients doing well after surgery
  • Better quality of life after receiving a new kidney
    • Patients can resume work and normal daily activities
    • Patients are free from the pain and complications related to dialysis
  • Fewer dietary restrictions
  • (For female patients) Higher chances of successfully getting pregnant

Discover the additional benefits of kidney transplantation compared with dialysis, and delve deeper into its viability as a treatment option for end-stage kidney disease.

Deceased donor transplant vs living donor kidney transplant (LDKT)

Compared with a deceased donor transplant, LDKT offers the following advantages:

  • Shorter waiting times, with less time spent undergoing dialysis, and even potential avoidance of dialysis in pre-emptive kidney transplantation
  • Better graft and patient survival rates
  • Ability to schedule your transplant in advance compared to an emergency transplant procedure with a deceased donor kidney
  • Blood group incompatible kidney transplantation can be done for some patients

Who should not undergo a living donor kidney transplant?

An LDKT is not recommended if you have any of the following:

  • An ongoing infection, which must be treated first
  • Severe heart disease
  • Cancer that is not in clinical remission
  • Active AIDS

What are the risks and complications of a living donor kidney transplant?

For the recipient, an LDKT carries the following potential risks:

  • Decreased immunity as a result of the use of immunosuppressants
  • Other side effects of immunosuppressants e.g. new-onset diabetes after transplantation, high blood pressure
  • Acute rejection, where the immune system recognises the transplanted kidney to be foreign, and begins to ‘attack’ it. This is usually treated with stronger immunosuppressant medications.
  • Increased risk of developing cancers, especially certain virus-associated cancers

For the donor, an LDKT carries the following potential risks:

  • Risk of death, which affects around 3 – 5 in 1,000 living donors
  • Chance of premature kidney failure
  • Increased risk of hypertension and/or having protein in the urine later on in life

Why choose Mount Elizabeth Hospitals?

At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals in Singapore, our kidney specialists offer a wide range of medical and surgical interventions including acute and chronic disease management, end-stage disease management and kidney transplantation. Our experts are experienced and skilled in performing kidney transplants, even for blood group incompatible donor-recipient pairs.

We have a transplant unit designed to provide transplant patients with comprehensive and specialised care. The transplant unit has a dedicated inpatient ward with intensive care unit (ICU) facilities for seamless post-surgery care. Our team of specialised ICU nurses is well-trained to support patients through the entire process from surgery to post-transplant monitoring and recovery.

Our urologists and nephrologists

Our kidney transplant team involves urology doctors and kidney specialists who are specially trained in meeting the needs of kidney transplant patients. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive care in a compassionate setting.

Please check with your insurance provider for more information, and for their most up-to-date list of panel doctors.

^Specialists may qualify to be on the Extended Panel (EP). You may enjoy selected panel benefits depending on your policy and riders.
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