Most people diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) eventually develop lupus nephritis. Even with careful treatment, five to 20 percent of those with lupus nephritis will develop end-stage renal disease within 10 years of diagnosis. In people with advanced renal disease, it may become necessary to undergo dialysis or consider a kidney transplant. A kidney transplant is a surgery to replace one diseased kidney with a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor.
What does it involve?
Kidney transplants are performed under general anesthesia.
Kidney transplants are more likely to be successful if the donor is as genetically similar to the recipient as possible. The most successful kidney transplants are donated by close living relatives. Since only one kidney is donated in a kidney transplant, both the donor and the recipient can lead normal lives if they take good care of their health.
Some kidneys are donated by people who have died. Kidneys sourced from cadavers are subject to waiting lists that are moderated at the national level. Some people wait many years while undergoing dialysis before they become eligible for a kidney that is a good genetic match for them.
After receiving a kidney transplant, you will no longer require dialysis.
You can expect to stay in the hospital for up to a week after a kidney transplant. Once you return home, it will take several more weeks to recover before you can resume work, school, or other normal activities.
Approximately 97 percent of people who receive a kidney from a living relative are are still alive after one year. Approximately 83 percent of those people are still alive after five years.
Approximately 93 percent of people who receive a kidney from a cadaver are are still alive after one year. Approximately 75 percent of those people are still alive after five years.
Any surgery carries risks including blood clots, blood loss, infection, breathing problems, reactions to medication, and heart attack or stroke during the surgery.
A transplanted kidney may fail or be rejected by the body.
After receiving a kidney transplant, you will need to take immunosuppressive medication for the rest of your life. These medications suppress the immune system, making it easier for you to become infected with colds, the flu, and other illnesses. You will need to avoid people who are sick with contagious illnesses, and you will need to ask your doctor if it is safe before receiving immunizations. Immunosuppressive drugs can cause other side effects, including kidney damage and increased risk for some cancers.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Lupus and Kidney Disease (Lupus Nephritis) – National Kidney Foundation
Kidney Transplant – Mayo Clinic