Kidney Transplantation

Kidney Transplantation

Wendy Escobedo, RN, MSN, PHN, CCTN

Ashley H. Seawright, DNP, ACNP-BC


A. Transplantation provides an opportunity to leave the rigors of dialysis behind and improve the quality of life for chronic kidney disease patients.

  • Thousands of patients in countries worldwide are awaiting a new kidney.

  • Table 14-1 provides data on patients awaiting renal transplantation in the United States, Australia, Eurotransplant, and the United Kingdom.1,2,3,4

  • In the United States, there are also 1,971 individuals awaiting simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplantation.1

  • Thousands of others throughout the world are in the process of being evaluated or scheduled for living donor transplantation.

  • Economically, transplantation is the most cost-effective treatment for chronic kidney disease.5,6,7

B. This chapter provides information on the evaluation and preparation for kidney transplantation and the complex postoperative nursing care required.

  • To have a clear understanding of both the pre- and the postrenal transplant process, it is necessary to have knowledge of renal function, causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD), and the manifestations of abnormal renal function.

  • In most cases, early kidney disease is a silent and insidious process.

    • Patients accommodate to their worsening physiological condition without realizing they are doing so and often without being aware they have a health problem.

    • Renal failure often is not recognized until the patients have irreversibly lost a significant percentage of their kidney function and have multiple manifestations of renal disease.

    • The state where all or most kidney function has been lost and dialysis is indicated has traditionally been referred to as end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

    • The current term used to describe this state is chronic kidney disease (CKD), and this term will be used throughout this chapter.

TABLE 14-1 Patients Awaiting Renal Transplant (as of August 2015)


Number of Patients

United States1






Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Slovenia

United Kingdom4


C. The kidneys:

  • Are paired organs

  • Sit behind the peritoneum at approximately the level of the first lumbar vertebra

  • Receive their blood supply via the renal arteries and are drained via the renal veins

    • It is not uncommon to have two to three renal arteries supplying each kidney.

    • It is less common to have multiple renal veins.

  • Perform numerous functions (see Table 14-2)8

    • Primary product, urine, is drained via the ureters into the urinary bladder.

      • On occasion, there may be two ureters from a single kidney.

      • The bladder is a hollow muscular organ that is readily distensible and has a capacity of 500 mL.

    • The urine produced contains waste products, electrolytes, and other substances outlined in Table 14-3.8

    • Abnormalities in the urine composition such as the presence of protein, blood cells, glucose, or other substances can indicate renal or systemic disease.

    • The nephron is the basic structural and functional unit of the kidney, with each kidney having approximately 1 million nephrons.9

      • Each nephron is capable of carrying out all of the functions of the kidney.

      • About 50% of the nephrons must be impaired before the creatinine will rise.

    • When the kidneys fail, dialysis or transplantation is required to sustain life.

TABLE 14-2 Major Kidney Functions

  • Excretion of most metabolic end products of the body

  • Control of fluid and electrolyte balance

  • Maintenance of acid-base balance

  • Production of erythropoietin for stimulation of red blood cell production

  • Activation of vitamin D to facilitate calcium absorption

  • Production of renin as part of the renin/angiotensin system for blood pressure control

From Hall JE. Guyton & Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders; 2015; Briggs JP, Kriz W, Schnermann JB. Overview of kidney function and structure. In: Gilbert SJ, Weiner DE, Gipson DS, et al., eds. National Kidney Foundation’s Primer on Kidney Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:2-18.

TABLE 14-3 Urine Composition

Common Substances Found in Urine


Nitrogenous waste products: creatinine, urea, uric acid, ammonia

Electrolytes: sodium, potassium, ammonia, chloride, bicarbonate, phosphate, sulfate, minerals


Other: drug metabolites, bacterial toxins, pigments

Abnormal substances: glucose, albumin, protein, red blood cells, white blood cells, casts, calculi

From Hall JE. Guyton & Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders; 2015; Briggs JP, Kriz W, Schnermann JB. Overview of kidney function and structure. In: Gilbert SJ, Weiner DE, Gipson DS, et al., eds. National Kidney Foundation’s Primer on Kidney Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:2-18.


A. Etiology

  • The causes of CKD are many (Table 14-4), but diabetes mellitus (DM), hypertension, and glomerulonephritis account for the majority of patients with CKD.

    • These three diseases account for almost 80% of all patients on dialysis.10

    • DM is the most common cause of CKD.

  • Although all forms of glomerulonephritis may recur, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis has the highest rate of recurrence.

  • Other causes of CKD that may recur include Henoch-Schönlein purpura, amyloidosis, hemolytic-uremic syndrome, and oxalosis.11

    TABLE 14-4 Major Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease

    Most common causes of CKD:

    • Diabetes mellitus

    • Hypertension

    • Glomerulonephritis

    Cystic disorders:

    • Polycystic kidney disease

    • Medullary cystic disease

    • Acquired cystic diseases

    Urinary tract abnormalities:

    • Reflux nephropathy

    • Posterior ureteral valves

    • Neurogenic bladder

    Tubular disorders:

    • Renal tubular acidosis

    • Fanconi’s syndrome

    Obstructive disorders:

    • Renal calculi

    • Retroperitoneal fibrosis

    • Prostatic hypertrophy

    Autoimmune disorders:

    • Goodpasture’s disease

    • Wegener’s disease

    • Systemic lupus erythematosus

    • IgA nephropathy

    Hemolytic disorders:

    • Hemolytic-uremic syndrome

    • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura

    Nephrotoxic agents:

    • Cyclosporine

    • Gentamicin

    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

    • Analgesics

    • Intravenous contrast dyes


    • Multiple myeloma

    • Renal cell cancer

    Congenital disorders:

    • Renal agenesis

    • Renal aplasia


    • Amyloidosis

    • Oxalosis

    • Henoch-Schönlein purpura

    • Interstitial nephritis

    • Nephrotic syndrome

    • Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis

    • Human immunodeficiency virus nephropathy

    • Pyelonephritis

    HIV, human immunodeficiency virus.

    From Whittier WL, Lewis EJ. Pathophysiology of chronic kidney disease. In: Gilbert SJ, Weiner DE, Gipson DS, et al., eds. National Kidney Foundation’s Primer on Kidney Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:448-457; Jennette JC, Falk RJ. Glomerular clinicopathologic syndromes. In: Gilbert SJ, Weiner DE, Gipson DS, et al., eds. National Kidney Foundation’s Primer on Kidney Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:152-163.

  • Patients with polycystic kidney disease may require bilateral nephrectomy before or at the time of transplant if the cysts are large, cause frequent infection or bleeding, impinge on surrounding structures, or fail to allow sufficient room for the new kidney.

B. Chronic kidney disease stages

  • In most cases, CKD occurs over months to years, although some diseases such as rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis can cause permanent damage within weeks or months.

  • CKD is differentiated from acute disease in that the damage to the kidney lasts for more than 3 months in CKD.

    TABLE 14-5 Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease



    GFR (mL/min)


    Kidney damage with normal or increased GFR



    Kidney damage with mild decrease in GFR



    Moderate decrease in GFR



    Severe decrease in GFR



    Kidney failure

    <15 (or dialysis)

    Data from National Kidney Foundation (NKF). K/DOQI Clinical Practice Guidelines For Chronic Kidney Disease: Evaluation, Classification, and Stratification. Available at Accessed September 29, 2014.

  • Gradual loss of kidney function is described in five stages (Table 14-5) that have been clearly defined in the clinical practice guidelines by the Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative (KDOQI).12

    • The staging of CKD enables clinical practice guidelines and performance measures to be used as tools for improving the evaluation and management of CKD.

    • The two primary markers used to define the stages of disease are

      • Damage to the kidneys as manifested by abnormalities in blood and/or urine (BUN, creatinine, etc.)

      • Level of kidney function as measured by the glomerular filtration rate (GFR)

    • The stages also indicate how soon renal replacement therapy may be required.

    • Those in stage 4 should be preparing for dialysis by having access placed or seeking a living donor for preemptive transplant.

    • Those who have reached stage 5 are in need of immediate renal replacement therapy.

C. Manifestations of chronic CKD

  • As it progresses, CKD leads to a syndrome known as uremia, which literally means urine in the blood and refers to the buildup of waste products, excess electrolytes, and toxins in the blood.

  • Physical signs and symptoms develop due to the presence of unfiltered waste products and the loss of kidney function.

    • CKD can affect the most elemental of patient parameters, the vital signs.

      • Despite an increased susceptibility to infection, CKD patients may have a subnormal temperature as BUN acts as a hypothermic agent.

      • Tachycardia is often present in response to cardiac and volume changes.

      • Tachypnea can be present as a compensatory response to metabolic acidosis.

      • Blood pressure (BP) can be normal but is often elevated due to the cardiovascular changes that occur in many diseases that cause kidney disease.

    • CKD disease evolves into a multisystem disease affecting many aspects of bodily function.

    • Table 14-6 describes clinical symptoms that may develop with a diagnosis of CKD.8,13,14,15

    TABLE 14-6 Systemic Effects of Chronic Kidney Disease


    Effect of Disturbance

    Cardiovascular disturbances


    Left ventricular hypertrophy

    Congestive heart failure


    Pericardial effusion

    Pericardial tamponade

    Edema of extremities

    Gastrointestinal disturbances

    Uremic fetor






    Gastrointestinal bleeding



    Peptic ulcer disease

    Musculoskeletal disturbances

    Renal osteodystrophy

    Osteitis fibrosa/osteomalacia

    Muscle wasting

    Muscle irritability

    Bone pain

    Bone fractures

    Pulmonary disturbances

    Pulmonary edema





    Hematologic disturbances


    Impaired platelet function


    Neurologic disturbances

    Drowsiness, fatigue

    Muscle twitching







    Peripheral neuropathy

    Sleep disturbances


    Restless legs syndrome

    Motor weakness

    Genitourinary disturbances



    Urinary tract infections


    Metabolic/electrolyte/acid-base disturbances







    Carbohydrate intolerance

    Waste product accumulation

    Endocrine disturbances

    Altered insulin metabolism

    Reduced insulin requirements

    Peripheral insulin resistance

    Thyroid abnormalities


    Reproductive disturbances




    Integumentary disturbances

    Uremic frost

    Pallor, pigmentation changes

    Pruritus, dry/scaly skin



    Calcium-phosphate deposits

    Psychologic disturbances






    From Hall JE. Guyton & Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: WB Saunders; 2015; Patton KT, Thibodeau GA. Anatomy and Physiology. 7th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby; 2010; Inker LA, Levey AS. Staging and management of chronic kidney disease. In: Gilbert SJ, Weiner DE, Gipson DS, et al., eds. National Kidney Foundation’s Primer on Kidney Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:458-466; Hain DJ, Haras MS. Chronic kidney disease. In: Core Curriculum for Nephrology Nursing. 6th ed. Pitman, NJ: ANNA; 2015:153-182.

  • Although dialysis can improve fluid and electrolyte balance and remove waste products, other measures are necessary to prevent and treat the many symptoms and complications of CKD:

    • Dietary restrictions/modifications

    • Antihypertensive therapy

    • Iron replacement

    • Stimulation of red blood cell production

    • Control of calcium and phosphate levels

D. Radiologic and invasive testing for CKD

  • As described earlier, CKD is defined by stages that enable the application of guidelines for treatment and management.

    • In order to determine the stage of CKD and the underlying cause of the CKD, patients typically undergo radiologic and invasive testing in addition to routine lab work.

    • Imaging of the kidneys provides information on the size and structural abnormalities of the kidneys:

      • Renal or abdominal ultrasound

      • Computed tomography (CT)

      • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

    • A renal biopsy provides tissue for histological classification of the disease.

    • A 24-hour urine for creatinine and protein may be collected. This test provides information regarding the severity of the kidney disease.

    • An excellent test to determine the degree of renal dysfunction is a nuclear medicine glomerular filtration rate.

    • These diagnostic studies provide information regarding the potential causes and reversibility of the kidney disease and help guide treatment and prevention of further loss of function.


A. The evaluation process and acceptance criteria for renal transplant candidates differ from program to program and from country to country. The evaluation should be tailored according to patient-specific conditions.

  • Patients who may be considered acceptable candidates by one program may be deemed unacceptable by another.

  • There is no one set of definitive acceptance or rejection criteria or methodology for assessment.

B. Physical assessment

  • Physiologically, the potential candidate must be able to undergo and withstand the transplant procedure itself and have a low risk of long-term morbidity and mortality.

  • Cardiovascular function, respiratory status, body mass index, and the absence of defined contraindications form the basis of the assessment.

  • Major contraindications are listed in Table 14-7.16

  • Although some of these criteria and/or contraindications will exclude a patient at the time of initial assessment, if they can be resolved, the patient can be reassessed.

    • Examples of this would be obese patients who complete a weight reduction program or patients with symptomatic coronary artery disease who undergo coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

  • Older age, in itself, is not a definitive contraindication because physiologic age is more important than chronologic age.

  • Physical assessment is aimed at determining a patient’s potential morbidity and mortality in both the short term and long term.

  • A battery of laboratory, tissue and blood-typing, and radiologic and diagnostic tests are required to determine the state of a potential candidate’s health (see Table 14-8).

  • Certain patients may require additional tests and procedures depending on their medical history.

    TABLE 14-7 Contraindications to Kidney Transplantation

    • Active or current malignancy

    • Active infection

    • Significant peripheral vascular disease (that would interfere with surgical anastomoses)

    • Untreatable end-stage diseases of other organs, for example, inoperable coronary artery or valvular disease, severe cardiomyopathy, end-stage emphysema

    • Active inflammatory disease (systemic)

    • Noncompliance

    • Active substance abuse; current recreational drug abuse

    • Untreated psychiatric illness or mental incapacity without an adequate support system

    • Active peptic ulcer disease

    • Irreversible rehabilitative potential

    • Primary oxalosis

    From Bunnapradist S, Danovitch GM. Evaluation of adult kidney transplant candidates. In: Danovitch GM, ed. Handbook of Kidney Transplantation. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010:157-180.

  • Based on the evaluation results, the interdisciplinary team members will determine if a candidate falls within the range of acceptable risk.

  • It must be understood that if a patient is deemed not a candidate on one occasion, periodic reevaluation may be considered to determine if there have been changes such that the patient may now meet physiological and/or psychosocial eligibility criteria for transplantation.

C. Psychosocial assessment

  • The psychosocial assessment of patients is of particular importance to the long-term success of kidney transplantation.

    • Major components of the psychosocial evaluation include

      • Psychiatric history

      • Adherence history

      • Substance abuse history

      • Mental status

      • Social history

      • Availability of social support

      • Family social and mental health history

      • Perceived health, coping style, and quality of life17

      • Presence of any religious or cultural concerns

        • Are there any objections to receiving blood or blood products?

          • Certain religious faiths such as Jehovah’s Witnesses do not accept blood products under any circumstances.

          • The risks associated with this belief must be carefully discussed before proceeding.

        • Consideration must be given as well to cultural norms and values.

      • When the nursing assessment indicates that cultural or religious norms could be a concern, they should be fully investigated, seeking experts as needed to ensure that no cultural norms or values are violated. Examples include

        • Dietary restrictions

        • Use of herbal or alternative therapies

      TABLE 14-8 Pretransplant Tests and Investigations for Potential Kidney Transplant Recipients

      Laboratory tests: blood and urine


      • Complete blood count (CBC) with differential

      • PT, INR, PTT

      Chemistry panel:

      • Sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, chloride, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, blood glucose

      Liver function tests

      Urine: (If patient is able to produce urine)

      • Culture, urinalysis, 24-hour urine for protein and creatinine


      • Hepatitis B surface antigen and antibodies

      • Hepatitis C PCR

      • CMV, EBV, HSV, VZV

      • HIV

      • VDRL


      • Papanicolaou (PAP) smear

      • Prostate-specific antigen (men 50 or older)

      • PPD

      • Hemoglobin A1C (diabetics)

      • Pregnancy test (females)

      Tissue- and blood-typing tests

      • ABO blood typing

      • Tissue typing

      • Panel reactive antibodies (PRA)

      • Crossmatch

      Radiologic/diagnostic tests

      • Chest x-ray

      • Electrocardiogram

      • Pulmonary function tests*

      • Mammogram (women 40 or older)

      • Cardiac echocardiogram*

      • Stress test*

      • Cardiac catheterization*

      • Abdominal computed tomography*

      • Magnetic resonance imaging*

      • Noninvasive vascular studies*

      • Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)

      Physical exams

      • Full history and physical by a transplant nephrologist and surgeon

      • Psychosocial assessment by CSW

      • Gynecologic exam (females)

      • Prostate exam (males)

      * If indicated by exam or other studies.

      aPTT, activated partial thromboplastin time; CMV, cytomegalovirus; EBV, Epstein-Barr virus; HIV, human immunodeficiency virus; HSV, herpes simplex virus; INR, international normalized ratio; PCR, polymerase chain reaction; PPD, purified protein derivative; PT, prothrombin time; VDRL, venereal disease research laboratories; VZV, varicella-zoster virus.

      From Bunnapradist S, Danovitch GM. Evaluation of adult kidney transplant candidates. In: Danovitch GM, ed. Handbook of Kidney Transplantation. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2010:157-180.

    • Psychosocial support

      • Patients need to be able to care for themselves posttransplant or have a support network in place that is capable of assisting them.

      • Posttransplant self-care is critical to graft and, at times, patient survival.

      • Regular attendance at posttransplant clinics, adherence to all aspects of the posttransplant medical regimen, and awareness of the signs and symptoms of rejection and infection are all a shared responsibility among the transplant center, the patients, and their support network.

    • Adherence

      • As well as assessing patients’ and their support systems’ ability to cope with the rigors of posttransplant life, an assessment of patients’ history of adherence to medical management must be done.

      • Patients should demonstrate reliability in this regard before being allowed to proceed.

      • For patients who have not been able to demonstrate consistent adherence, contracts of varying lengths can be established. These contracts provide detailed criteria patients must meet to be accepted for transplantation in the future.

        • This may not be an accepted practice at all centers and in all countries.

    • Patients who are actively abusing illegal or legal substances or have an untreated psychiatric disorder do not meet eligibility criteria for transplantation.18

    • For all patients, ensuring that they have a current and long-term source of income to cover hospitalization, their medications, and posttransplant costs is essential.

      • In a large number of Western countries, organ transplant services and medications are provided to patients either free of charge or with minimal charge through National Health Services or National Social Insurance Plans.

      • In the United States, the coverage for transplantation and posttransplant medications can be provided by a wide variety of private and governmental insurance programs.

        • For those patients with adequate insurance, the appropriate approvals and authorizations are obtained.

        • Patients who are uninsured or underinsured are assisted in completing the paperwork necessary to obtain adequate coverage.

        • No kidney patients are ever refused transplantation on the basis of inability to pay.

  • Psychosocial evaluations must be completed by a trained professional such as a licensed social worker.

  • Additional assessment by a psychologist or psychiatrist familiar with transplantation may be necessary in cases where the initial assessment is equivocal or for individuals with a history of significant psychiatric or compliance issues.

    • In the United States, there are regulatory standards that require the availability of psychiatric and social support services in transplant programs.

  • For additional information, see chapters on Solid Organ Transplantation: The Evaluation Process and Psychosocial Issues in Transplantation.


A. Not only is the patient assessment process a time when the transplant team evaluates patients, it is also a time to educate patients and members of their support system.

B. Clear, concise, understandable, and structured education sessions should be provided to all potential transplant patients and members of their support system.

C. Topics should include

  • The transplant evaluation process

  • Responsibilities while awaiting transplant

  • National and center-specific transplant outcome data

  • Transplant surgery

  • Posttransplant management and responsibilities

  • Importance of adherence with the medical regimen

  • Potential complications

  • Options of living versus deceased donor transplantation

  • Options such as Kidney Paired Donation, blood type incompatible transplant, or desensitization protocols if the patient has a willing but incompatible donor

D. These sessions ideally should occur at the first stage of the patient evaluation process and be repeated as necessary throughout the evaluation process.

  • Early education provides benefits to both the patients and the transplant team.

E. Additionally, it is important to:

  • Introduce patients and families to other patients who have undergone transplantation

  • Provide patients with ample time to ask questions

  • Provide patients and families with information on support groups and continuing education on transplantation

F. Table 14-9 describes benefits of early patient education.

G. For additional information, see chapter on Education for Transplant Patients and Caregivers.

TABLE 14-9 Benefits of Early Patient Education

  • Ensures patients have a solid understanding of what is required of them

  • Allows patients and their support system to make informed decisions regarding their willingness to proceed to transplant before they and the program commit resources to their evaluation

  • Introduces the concept of living donor transplant early in the process, thereby enabling early identification of potential live donors and possible early transplant

  • Allows the program to assess the cognitive ability of the patients and their supporters


A. For those patients who are accepted as transplant candidates and have potential live donors, efforts should be directed toward early live donor transplantation.

  • Living donor assessment may entail the evaluation of a number of potential donors.

  • The general assessment requirements for living donor transplantation are provided in Table 14-10.

  • See Chapter 7 on Care of Living Donors for additional information.


A. If a living donor transplantation is not an option, patients will be placed on the deceased donor transplant waiting list.

B. Waiting times can vary widely depending on patient location, blood type, age, severity of disease, panel reactive antibodies (PRA), and other factors.

C. In the United States, median waiting times range from 3 to 5.3 years.19

D. It is necessary to have a process whereby the physical and psychosocial status of listed patients is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure their ongoing suitability for transplantation.

TABLE 14-10 Required Testing for Living Donors As per United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS)/OPTN Policies Accessed August 14, 2015

  • History and physical: complete medical and social history

  • Physical exam to include height, weight, BMI, vital signs, and exam all major organ systems

  • Routine blood tests: complete blood count (CBC), platelet count, PT, PTT, chemistry panel (metabolic testing to include electrolytes, BUN, creatinine, transaminase levels, albumin, calcium, phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin), liver function tests, lipid panel, glucose tolerance test (GTT)

  • Serology: hepatitis B and C screening, HIV, CMV, EBV, tuberculosis

  • Urine tests: urinalysis, urine culture, 24-hour urine for protein and creatinine clearance, HCG quantitative pregnancy testing (premenopausal women without surgical sterilization)

  • ABO typing, tissue typing, and crossmatch

  • Nephrology/urologic evaluation

  • Chest x-ray

  • Electrocardiogram

  • Cardiac stress test (if >50 years old)

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), angiography, or 3D computed tomography

  • Cancer screening

  • Psychosocial assessment by LCSW including an evaluation for the presence of behaviors that may increase risk for disease transmission as defined by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) 2013 Guidelines

  • Donor advocate evaluation

  • Informed consent/education

CMV, cytomegalovirus; EBV, Epstein-Barr virus; HIV, human immunodeficiency virus.

E. Close liaison with dialysis programs is important to ensure timely communication of changes in candidates’ conditions.

F. Additionally, regular blood work results must be provided to the tissuetyping laboratory for periodic reassessment of the candidate’s PRA and, depending on local protocols, pretransplant (prospective) donor/recipient crossmatch.


A. Preparation for surgery

  • Kidney transplantation is considered an elective procedure although it may be considered an urgent procedure in deceased donor transplantation.

  • Live donor transplantation has a number of advantages over deceased donor transplantation.

    • The condition of the candidate can be maximized prior to transplantation.

    • Organ cold ischemic time is minimized prior to the transplant.

    • Incidence of delayed graft function is decreased.

    • Short- and long-term outcomes are better.

    • The organ is not subjected to the physiological insults that accompany brain death.

    • The candidate can be dialyzed prior to final preparation for surgery.

    • Allows for a planned date that is mutually convenient for both the donor and candidate who will receive the organ.

    • All relevant tests and investigations can be completed.

  • Deceased donor transplantation, in comparison, provides a much shorter time for patient preparation.

    • When an organ becomes available, the candidate is contacted and detailed information is obtained regarding recent medical history, date of last dialysis, and whether the patient has received any recent blood transfusions.

    • Questions are directed at ascertaining if there are any impediments to transplantation:

      • Any cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke)

      • Recent infections or fevers

      • New diagnoses of cancer or any other major medical or surgical events

  • If no contraindications are identified, the patient is asked to proceed to the hospital.

  • Upon admission:

    • Vital signs are checked.

    • Blood samples are taken.

    • If not anuric, a urine sample is sent for analysis and culture.

    • Full history and physical.

    • Chest radiograph.

    • Electrocardiogram (EKG).

    • The patient is dialyzed, if necessary.

    • Table 14-11 provides a list of preoperative tests for kidney transplantation.

  • Careful attention should be paid to the results that are critical to patient survival and transplant outcome.

    • If the patient is febrile or has an elevated white blood cell count, infection must be ruled out before proceeding to transplantation.

      TABLE 14-11 Preoperative Tests for Kidney Transplantation

      • History and physical including vital signs, weight, height, and oxygen saturation

      • Routine blood tests: CBC, chemistry panel, calcium, phosphate, magnesium, liver function tests, PT, INR, aPTT

      • Routine urine tests: urinalysis, pregnancy test (females)

      • Type and crossmatch for blood (2-4 units)

      • ABO typing

      • Tissue typing and final crossmatch with donor

      • Chest x-ray

      • Electrocardiogram

      aPTT, activated partial thromboplastin time; CBC, complete blood count; INR, international normalized ratio; PTT, partial thromboplastin time.

    • If the potassium level is elevated, dialysis will be required to prevent intraoperative arrhythmias.

    • Coagulation study results such as the partial thromboplastin time (PT), international normalized ratio (INR), and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) must be reviewed given that clotting dysfunction may be present.

      • A prolonged PT, INR, or PTT may necessitate the use of vitamin K or fresh frozen plasma to minimize intraoperative bleeding.

      • Anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents such as warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin, and clopidogrel (Plavix) must be discontinued and reversed when possible.

    • Although a low hemoglobin level is common in renal failure patients, a hemoglobin level of 8 to 8.5 g/dL may predispose patients to cardiac ischemic events and necessitate preoperative transfusion.

    • Untreated pneumonias or suspicious lesions on the chest radiograph or serious EKG abnormalities may result in cancellation of the case.

    • The candidate’s cytomegalovirus (CMV) status should also be determined as more aggressive antiviral therapy may be needed postoperatively for CMV-negative recipients who receive kidneys from CMV-positive donors.

    • Confirmation of tissue typing, compatibility of ABO blood group between donors and recipients, and a negative donor/recipient crossmatch result is of utmost importance to a successful outcome.

    • Incompatibility of ABO blood groups and/or a positive crossmatch can lead to an immediate hyperacute rejection of the organ.

Oct 27, 2018 | Posted by in NURSING | Comments Off on Kidney Transplantation
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