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A kidney transplant may be performed if your child loses most kidney function. Healthy kidneys perform the vital function of cleaning the blood by removing excess fluid, minerals and waste. They also make substances that help keep the bones strong and blood healthy. When the kidneys fail, harmful substances can build up in the blood, negatively affecting the whole body.
During a kidney transplant, your child will receive one viable kidney from a matched donor. Only one donated kidney is needed to replace the function of both kidneys. After the transplant, your child must take prescribed medicines twice daily to prevent transplant rejection and minimize side effects such as infection, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems.
Kidney transplants can treat end stage kidney disease secondary to many kidney conditions, including:
A successful kidney transplant requires a coordinated effort from your child’s entire healthcare team. The transplant team with IU Health Transplant at Riley Children's Health includes a pediatric nephrologist, transplant surgeon, transplant coordinator, pharmacist, dietitian, social worker and sometimes a pediatric urologist, psychologist and psychiatrist.
Before considering kidney transplant as a treatment, our kidney transplant team will work with you to determine if a transplant is a good choice for your child. While there is no minimum age requirement for a kidney transplant, your child must reach the minimum body size to accommodate a donor kidney. If it is decided that transplant is the best treatment option, the next step is to find a matching kidney. Family and friends are first tested as a potential match. If no match is found, then your child will be placed on the transplant waiting list. Please note that IU Health Transplant at Riley Children's Health only uses adult donor kidneys.
A kidney match is determined by:
• Blood type. The blood type of a donor and recipient must be compatible.
• Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) factors. These are genetic markers on your white blood cells. A higher number of matching antigens between a donor and recipient increases the odds that the kidney will last for a long time.
If a potential matching kidney is found, a series of blood tests will be performed. They include:
You can expect the following prior to your child’s kidney transplant operation at Riley at IU Health:
During the surgery:
You can expect the following immediately after surgery:
The care team will provide specific instructions when your child is discharged from the hospital. Below are some guidelines for when you return home:
The outcomes for patients who have received a kidney transplant are generally very good, especially when patients follow the guidelines above.
IU Health Transplant at Riley Children's Health is a member of the Improving Renal Outcomes Collaborative (IROC) network, which is part of the Collaborative Chronic Care Network (C3N). IROC brings together families, clinicians and researchers from several prestigious children’s hospitals in order to inspire new research in the field of kidney transplant and improve outcomes for children with kidney transplants. An internal grant from the Department of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine made this membership possible.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
This organization provides information and support for patients who are undergoing a kidney transplant.
This professional organization brings together physicians and researchers in nephrology to develop new treatments and improve patient outcomes.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.