Optimal Time to Seek Care for Kidney Transplant
When your primary care doctor tells you that your kidneys aren't functioning well and you are in kidney failure, what do you do? Do you wait? Do you need to connect with a transplant center immediately?
Our transplant team strongly advises seeking specialty care earlier than later. The best time to treat for kidney failure is preemptive, before the patient goes on dialysis. This ultimately saves money that would have been spent on dialysis before transplant, helps patients live longer and offers better quality of life with no dialysis. Currently, of the 20,000 to 23,000 kidney transplants performed annually, fewer than 20% are performed preemptively.
Dialysis is not perfect, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and vascular disease. We also know that the longer patients are on dialysis prior to kidney transplant, the shorter their survival time. When a patient seeks evaluation for transplant earlier they can also discuss directly with the transplant care team if there are any barriers they need to address to be a candidate for transplant. Sometimes patients need to quit smoking, lose weight, identify a caregiver or take care of other illnesses before they would be eligible for listing. When you come to a transplant center sooner those barriers can be identified, and there is still time to find solutions.
Carrie Schinstock, MD, transplant nephrologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, discusses the importance of seeking care earlier when it comes to being evaluated for kidney transplant. Learn more in the attached video.
Do you have kidney failure? Did you contact a transplant center right away? Tell us about your experience.
- Learn about living donor transplant at Mayo Clinic.
- Explore Mayo’s Transplant Center.
- Request an appointment.
- Connect with others in the transplant discussion group on Mayo Clinic Connect
- View our transplant toolkits on Mayo Clinic Connect