The kidney is part of the excretory system that helps filter the blood as the blood passes through the kidneys about 40 times daily. It comes as a pair in the body shaped like a bean. Each kidney is located on either side of the spine, just below the ribs and behind the belly. The kidney is roughly 4 or 5 inches long. As part of the excretory system, the kidneys remove wastes from the body. They also help regulate the fluid balance of the body and maintain the right levels of electrolytes.
The waste from the kidney is converted to urine which is collected in the pelvis of the kidney and is then passed out through the ureter, a tube that links the kidney to the bladder.
A kidney may stop working when blood stops flowing through, resulting in a condition named kidney failure. Other conditions of the kidney include:
Nephrolithiasis: Popularly known as kidney stones, nephrolithiasis is a condition in which hard deposits or crystals of minerals and salts are formed in the kidneys. These crystals may grow to stop the flow of urine from the body.
Pyelonephritis: This is an infection of the kidneys caused by bacteria resulting in the swelling of the kidneys, and it may even lead to permanent damage.
Kidney cancer: This is also referred to as renal cancer. It is a condition that develops when there is an uncontrollable continuous proliferation of abnormal cells in the kidney.
Glomerulonephritis: This is a condition in which the glomeruli are inflamed. The glomeruli are tiny filter structures that contain tiny blood vessels in the kidneys.
A kidney transplant is a procedure performed by carrying out surgery on a failed kidney. Dialysis is a treatment conducted on a person whose kidney has stopped working. It helps filter built-up waste. When there is a need for a kidney transplant in the case of a failed kidney, a kidney from a deceased or living donor is surgically transferred to the recipient. After a successful kidney transplant, the patient is placed on medications to help suppress the immune system from attacking the transplanted kidney.
Not all individuals with a failed kidney are eligible for kidney transplants. For example, people who smoke, use illicit drugs or take excess alcohol are not advised to undergo a kidney transplant. However, there are other individuals with certain conditions that make undergoing kidney transplantation dangerous to their health.
- Individuals with infections such as infection of the bone, hepatitis, tuberculosis, etc.
- Individuals who have cancer.
- Individuals with liver disease.
- Individuals with severe cardiovascular diseases.
Before a transplant is done, the recipient is subjected to strict evaluations where blood tests are run to know the recipient’s blood type and human leukocyte antigen (HLA). First, the evaluations are done to know if the donor and the recipient are compatible. Next, another test is done to determine if the recipient antibody will fight the new organ by mixing a small sample of the recipient’s blood with the donor’s blood. If the test result shows that there is a negative crossmatch, the transplant can now be performed.