Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Your Kidney Transplant: What 150,000 Patients Can Tell You

Are you thinking about a kidney transplant for you or someone you love? Are you looking into the success others had with kidney transplants to help you understand what to expect? The 150,000 patients who got their transplant in the last 6 years can help you. They "speak" with their numbers. Patients like you shared with me that knowing what happened for most of these 150,000 patients over and over again gives you comfort and a starting point on what to do to raise your own chances. Here is what you can learn from them:
Your odds are high: On average, 90% of patients who received a kidney transplant live longer than 3 years. The majority of these transplants also last longer than 3 years. Though there can be complications, close follow up for a year is designed to manage these complications. Of course, the odds of kidney transplant success are different by age, health condition or the center you go to. Though I cannot cover every aspect of transplant success in this article, the site I created for patients and families, listed at the end of this article, can give you more information.
You can cut your risks by half: You can cut your risks by half just by the center you go to. The 150,000 patients who already got their kidney transplant went to 246 different transplant centers. Their results at each center have been very different.In fact, their results show that not all centers are created equal. Some are better than others. Complication rates are double at the worst centers compared to the best. Overall, patients who went to a center with worse results faced twice the mortality risk than patients who went to better centers. This is true for all ages and patients of any health condition. The good news is that you can choose where to go for your transplant. There are at least 5 centers in each major metropolitan area, and if you can travel a bit your choice is even better. Choosing one of the better centers will cut your risks and improve your chances for a successful kidney transplant. The site I list at the end of this article can help you find the best kidney transplant centers.
Watch your health: The 150,000 patients who already got their transplant range in age from infants to 85. While younger patients face fewer risks and, therefore, experience higher success rates, older patients can also do well. Your kidney transplant success depends on your health condition. Good health is important to overcome the risks of a complex procedure and keep your new kidney. This is why the transplant center will evaluate you and run tests from cardiovascular to dental. Though you cannot control the evaluation, you can work with your doctor to keep as healthy and fit as possible. This will increase your chance of completing your evaluation successfully, getting and keeping your kidney transplant.
Even if you have talked to a few of these 150,000 patients and learned what it feels like to go through a kidney transplant, don't dismiss the outcomes of all 150,000 patients. All these patients together tell you how likely it is for these experiences to boil down to a good outcome. While each patient can give you a unique perspective of what is possible for you, all 150,000 of them show you what is probable for you

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