Definition of Terms Kidney Transplant

Following are definitions of common terms you will hear as you consider your kidney donation or transplant at Beaumont Hospitals.

Acute rejection

Acute rejection can happen any time after a kidney transplant. During acute rejection, the serum (blood) creatinine rises. Acute rejection can usually be treated with a higher dose or a different type of immunosuppressive medicine until the creatinine returns to baseline.

Antibody

A product of the immune system that helps the body fight infections and foreign substances.

Antigen

The "marker" that stimulates the body to produce antibodies.

Anti-rejection drugs

These drugs are taken every day through the life of the transplanted kidney. They are also known as immunosuppressive medicine. They help prevent the immune system from rejecting the new kidney.

Autologous blood

Your own blood donated for yourself before surgery.

Bladder

The part of the urinary tract that receives urine from the kidneys and stores it until you urinate.

Blood typing

A blood test that indicates blood group. You can be O, A, B or AB. The recipient's blood type must be compatible with the donor's blood type for a transplant.

BUN

This stands for blood urea nitrogen, a waste product from the kidney. BUN value indicates kidney function.

Chronic rejection

This is a process that may happen after a kidney transplant. It can develop over months or even years. There is no known treatment.

Chronic renal failure

Permanent damage to both kidneys that cannot be reversed. It is treated by dialysis or a transplant.

Creatinine

A product of muscle metabolism. Creatinine level is a very good indicator of kidney function.

Cross matching

A test to find out if the blood type of the kidney donor and that of the person receiving the kidney are compatible (also see blood typing).

Deceased donor

A person who has agreed while living to donate organs after dying from a severe brain injury or a cardiac death.

Dialysis

A process that cleans and balances chemicals in the blood when a person's kidneys have failed. Dialysis may refer to hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.

Diastolic

The bottom blood pressure number. It shows the force of the heart muscle at rest.

Donor nephrectomy

Removal of a kidney for donation.

End-stage kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD)

Occurs when the overall function of the kidneys declines to less than 10 percent of normal. When this happens, treatment - such as dialysis or transplant - is needed to replace lost kidney function and support life.

Glucose

A type of sugar found in the blood.

Hypertension

Another word for high blood pressure.

Immunosuppressive medicines

Medications taken to help prevent a transplant recipient's immune system from rejecting the new organ. Also known as anti-rejection medicine.

Intravenous (IV)

Fluids and medicines injected into a vein through a needle or catheter.

Kidneys

Two bean-shaped organs located beside the spine, just above the waist, that produce urine.

Living non-related kidney

Sometimes called "emotionally related kidney." Includes kidneys donated from someone who is living, but not blood-related, such as a spouse or close friend.

Living-related kidney

Donated by a blood relative such as a mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, cousin, aunt or uncle.

Nephrectomy

Surgical removal of one or both kidneys.

Nephron

A section of the kidney.

Rejection

The process by which the body responds to a "foreign object," such as a new kidney. Rejection can be acute or chronic (see: Acute rejection and Chronic rejection).

Renal

Having to do with the kidneys or referring to them.

Systolic

The top blood pressure number. It measures the force of the heart muscle as blood is pumped out of the heart chambers (contractions).

Tissue typing

A blood test that evaluates if there is a tissue match between a potential organ donor and a recipient. Testing is done before a transplant.

Transplant

Transferring organs or tissues from a donor to a recipient.

Ureters

The tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Urethra

The tube from the bladder that allows urine to flow out of the body.

Urinary tract

The system made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. It produces, moves, stores and eliminates urine.