Kidney Transplant or Dialysis- What’s better for me

Nephrologists are often asked whether dialysis or kidney transplant is a better option. Both treatment procedures have their own set of advantages and disadvantages; however, patients with a successful kidney transplant tend to live longer with better quality life as compared to those being treated with dialysis. If you are also wondering what’s right for you, read on- 

  • Kidney Transplant


Pros of Kidney Transplant 

Kidney transplant improves the quality of life of the patient and they can lead almost a normal life. There are almost no chances of mortality and no food restrictions. It may seem costly at first; however, it is more cost-effective in the long run, because the patient doesn’t have to pay for dialysis which turns out to be costlier in the long term. Patients can work and travel like a healthy individual and do not have to rely on hours of dialysis every now and then. 

Cons of Kidney Transplant 

Kidney transplant is a surgical procedure involving a few risks during and post surgery. These risks are infection, bleeding, probable damage to the surrounding organs and quite rarely death as well. 

Patients need to take proper medication and keep themselves under observation to prevent the chances of organ rejection. Medications may also bring some side effects that include diabetes, infection and at times cancers. 

  • Dialysis 

Dialysis is of two types: Hemodialysis and Peritoneal dialysis 

Advantages of Hemodialysis 

Hemodialysis is not required every day and it takes just a few hours for the procedure. When done at a medical facility, the patient doesn’t need to know in-depth about the procedure as a medical professional will do the needful to get access to the patient’s bloodstream for treatment purposes. 

Disadvantages of Hemodialysis 

Hemodialysis may lead to a few complications such as low blood pressure and the patient may also experience trouble breathing, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting and stomach cramps. Necessary preventive measures are taken to address these probable problems. Besides, there are times when accessing the bloodstream may cause an infection or clogging which might need surgery or an alternative medical procedure. 

Patients undergoing in-center Hemodialysis are unable to work as they may not be able to choose their own schedule. Hemodialysis at night can resolve this concern for the patients. Permanent access to bloodstream is also required through arms for adults and neck or chest for children. 


Advantages of Peritoneal Dialysis 

As opposed to Hemodialysis, patients getting Peritoneal dialysis are able to get more time for family, work and social activities. They can continue to work and since it is not a complicated procedure, the patient or a care-taker can set up the equipment with ease. It is easy to connect and disconnect the equipment. 

Disadvantages of Peritoneal Dialysis 

Patients getting treated with Peritoneal dialysis are prone to hernia due to the fluid pressure inside the abdominal cavity of the patient. The patient may also gain some weight and there is a risk of an infection at the catheter or in the abdomen. The latter are rare though. 

Conclusion: What’s Better for Me?

Kidney transplant is the best option for patients, unless they are ineligible for the procedure due to the reasons mentioned earlier in the post. The decision is based on a number of factors including the overall medical condition of the patient, preferences, and family condition among others; however, if the eligibility criteria is met, kidney transplant is viable from all viewpoints including better quality of life with increased life-span and cost-effectiveness.