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When is a kidney transplant recommended?

Kidney transplantation is the treatment of choice for most patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD). Therefore, most patients with ESRD or stage 4 to 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) should be referred for evaluation. General recommendation is for nephrologists to refer patients at a glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of around 25 to 30 milliliters per minute (ml/mn) to give enough time for evaluation and testing. This is because the evaluation process will, at times, require additional testing or treatments of certain conditions prior to being approved for kidney transplant. Early referral will also allow for recipients to find living donors, which might facilitate a preemptive transplant (kidney transplant before dialysis). In the US, patients become eligible to be waitlisted or receive a transplant at a GFR < 20 ml/min. The exact timing of transplant surgery below that GFR is a bit unclear but in general patients who have living donors are scheduled for transplant once they are closer to 15 ml/min or are close to developing symptoms. Patients waiting for a deceased donor transplant can receive one at any level below 20 ml/min.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.