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Life-Saving Kidney Transplantation

Kidney Transplantation in Israel at Sheba Medical Center

Sheba Organ Transplant Center at Sheba Medical Center – Experienced and Expert Treatment from a Holistic Care Team

The kidneys are essential organs, largely responsible for filtering the blood and producing hormones like erithropetin, which cause the producing red blood cells, and balancing blood pressure and influence on acid-based equilibrium.

Without functional kidneys, toxins will quickly build up in the bloodstream, and this will lead to multi-organ failure and death. When end-stage kidney failure – also known as end-stage renal failure – occurs, patients face either a lifetime of time-consuming and painful dialysis or the hope of kidney transplant.

Kidney Transplantation

What Causes Kidney Failure?

A person normally has two kidneys. However, it is possible to live with only one kidney if that kidney is functioning normally. Unfortunately, renal failure often affects both kidneys, necessitating dialysis or kidney transplant.

There are several possible causes of kidney disease leading to renal failure, including:

  • Long-term uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes, both type 1 and type 2
  • Atherosclerosis of the renal arteries that provide blood to the kidneys
  • Agenesis or hypoplastic kidneys
  • Congenital disorders where one is born with kidney problems
  • Infections of the kidneys
  • Systemic immune diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Treatment with certain medications can cause kidney damage

What are the Symptoms of Kidney Failure?

The early symptoms of kidney failure are not obvious and usually only show up on laboratory tests of the blood and urine. As kidney failure progresses, other signs become apparent. These include:

  • Decrease in urine production and secretion , up to the point of no secretion.
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Anemia
  • Nausea
  • Fluid retention leading to swelling due to general edema.
  • Excessive thirst
  • Confusion
  • Easy bruising

What is the Treatment for End-Stage Kidney Failure?

Once kidney failure reaches the end stage, it is not reversible. Doctors put end-stage renal failure patients on dialysis – blood filtration through a machine – to preserve their lives, but the only “cure” is a kidney transplant. A kidney can be received from either a living or deceased donor, but not any kidney will do. The donor kidney must be a close tissue match for the patient to avoid rejection. This match is determined by blood compatibility, tissue typing and tissue CROSS MATCH.

For this reason, the best donors are typically close relatives of the patients. Family members have significant commonalities in their genetic code and are often good matches for organ donation.

What are the Benefits of Kidney Transplantation at Sheba Medical Center?

The first successful, long-term kidney transplant was performed between twin brothers in the United States in 1954. Since that time, improvements in kidney transplants have grown by leaps and bounds. Sheba Medical Center has a long history of successful transplant surgery and was the site of the first organ transplants unit in Israel.

In fact, the transplant team at Sheba has had consistent success, even with patients with complex cases. This is due to our team’s vast experience and interdisciplinary approach.

Each and every patient at Sheba receives the highest level of comprehensive care not just from our surgeons but our nephrologists (kidney specialists), nurses, and support staff as well. Furthermore, since time is of the essence in kidney transplantation, our team works together to prepare our patients for surgery rapidly.

Who is a Candidate for Kidney Transplantation at Sheba?

Patients who have severe kidney problems may qualify for kidney transplantation at Sheba Medical Center. Sheba accepts kidney transplant patients of all ages and is authorized by the Israeli Ministry of Health to perform transplants from both living and deceased donors.

The transplant team determines if patients could benefit from a kidney transplant and if the patient can withstand the transplant surgery. Additionally, for ethical and legal reasons, Sheba only accepts kidney donors who are first degree relatives of the patient. This means immediate family members such as parents, full siblings, and children.

Who Leads the Organ Transplant Center at Sheba?

Prof. Eytan Mor
Prof. Eytan Mor is an expert in kidney, liver and pancreas transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery. He served as the director of the largest transplantation division in Israel at Beilinson Hospital and Schneider Children’s Hospital, and was the first in the country to perform liver transplants from a live donor in a child and adult. In the field of kidney transplants, he was the first surgeon in Israel to perform incompatible blood type transplants and cross-transplants. Prof. Mor established a cooperation with European countries on this issue. Recently, he performed a unique kidney and bone marrow transplant to stop treatment with immunosuppressive drugs.
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