Kidney Transplant

Kidney Transplant

Transplant may be an option for some people who have or will have kidney failure.  

Some patients may need to go on dialysis before they receive a transplant, while others may be able to get a transplant before needing dialysis. Not every person can qualify as a recipient or a donor. Please discuss eligibility with your health-care team.

Why get a transplant?

  • Live longer
  • Feel better
  • No fluid restrictions
  • No dialysis
  • Flexibility for travel, employment, food choice, lifestyle

What is a kidney transplant?

  • A surgical operation to place a healthy kidney in your body. This kidney will do enough work to keep you healthy.
  • Is a treatment for kidney disease
  • Is not a cure

If you are interested in a transplant, talk to your kidney doctor. If your kidney doctor thinks you are a good fit for a transplant, they will refer to the transplant program. Manitoba has its own renal transplant program that performs both living and deceased donor transplants for people with end-stage kidney failure. This program is Transplant Manitoba.

Transplant Assessment

As assessment will include talking about your:

  • Medical history
  • Current health status
  • Lifestyle
  • And if you have any potential living donors

The transplant doctors will talk about:

  • Eligibility
  • The waitlist
  • Risks of surgery
  • Benefits
  • And what you are required to do before, during and after transplant

If you are eligible to get a transplant, appointments and tests are done over time to make sure you are healthy enough to go through a transplant surgery.

Types of kidney donors:

Deceased Donor

When a kidney is donated from a person who is passing away and their family has consented to donate the person’s organs. There are two ways to become a deceased donor.

  • Neurological Death Donation (NDD) – Also known as brain death. This happens when a clot, swelling or bleeding cuts off blood supply to the brain long enough for brain tissue to die. Patients no longer respond to stimulation or breathe on their own.
  • Donation After Cardio-circulatory Death (DCD) – Also known as non-heart beating donation. When a patient on a ventilator who has suffered major injuries or trauma is expected to die soon after support systems are removed.

Living Donor

  • A person you know who is a blood match and has agreed to be your kidney donor
  • Kidney Paired Donation Program – recipients who have a living donor willing to donate but are incompatible with each other may enter this national registry to be paired with other donors and recipients in the same situation
  • Anonymous living kidney donor

Transplant surgery is three to five hours with up to seven days of staying in hospital. After surgery, transplant patients are following closely by the transplant team and take life-long anti-rejection medications. In some cases, people may experience organ rejection and the new kidney would not work in their body.

Being an Organ Donor

There are two ways people can donate their kidneys: deceased donor donation or living donor donation. To learn more and sign up to be an organ donor visit www.signupforlife.ca and talk to your family about your wishes.

Living Donors can donate one of their two kidneys and go on to live healthy, normal lives with their remaining one kidney. Manitoba has supports in place such as legislation allowing job-protected leave for living organ and tissue donors. There is also the Reimbursement of Expenses of Living Organ Donors Program in Manitoba. The program helps ease the financial burden of being a kidney donor.

Read a story about being an organ donor.

To find out more transplantation and organ donation, visit www.transplantmanitoba.ca, email transplantmanitoba@hsc.mb.ca or call 204-787-7001.