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Effective Jan. 5, 2023, kidney programs are required to assess their waiting lists and correct waiting times for any Black kidney candidates disadvantaged by having their kidney function overestimated due to use of a race-inclusive calculation. Learn more about the board action.

Patient brochures & FAQs

Information for patients and families to understand and navigate organ donation and transplantation:

The kidney

Functions of the kidney

The kidneys are a pair of reddish-brown, bean-shaped organs. They are located on either side of the spine just below the diaphragm, behind the liver and stomach.

The kidneys do a number of things to clean the blood and support overall health. These functions include:

  • Filtering out extra water and waste through making urine
  • Helping control blood pressure and production of red blood cells
  • Helping balance levels of key chemicals (electrolytes) in the blood

Renal failure happens when the kidneys cannot remove wastes and maintain electrolyte balance. Acute renal failure is when the kidneys cannot make urine. This leads to a buildup of wastes in the body. It can also lead to other problems such as:

  • Trauma
  • Burns
  • Infection
  • Obstruction of the urinary tract

Treatment depends on the cause and level of kidney disease. It often includes antibiotics and reduction of fluid intake.

Chronic kidney failure may occur as a result of many systemic disorders. It can cause:

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Less urine output, anemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Congestive heart failure

As kidney failure worsens, it may be treated through the use of diuretics and/or restricted protein intake. If it cannot be otherwise treated the final options are dialysis and/or transplantation.

Kidney transplant procedures

A kidney may be transplanted from a deceased or a living donor.

In deceased donor transplantation, most commonly one kidney is transplanted. In some cases, depending on the donor’s size or level of kidney function, both kidneys may be transplanted.

In a living donor transplant, one kidney is transplanted from an individual who:

  • Is in good overall health
  • Has been rigorously tested to ensure he or she can function with the other kidney
  • Has given consent after being informed of the possible risks of living donation

Reasons for kidney transplants

Kidney diagnosis categories Kidney diagnoses
Glomerular Diseases
Chronic Glomerulonephritis: Unspecified
Chronic Glomerulosclerosis: Unspecified
Focal Glomerularsclerosis
Idio/Post-Inf Crescentic Glomerulonephritis
IGA Nephropathy
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
Membranous Glomerulonephritis
Mesangiocapillary 1 Glomerulonephritis
Mesangiocapillary 2 Glomerulonephritis
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Alport's Syndrome
Membranous Nephropathy
Goodpasture's Syndrome
Henoch-Schoenlein Purpura
Sickle Cell Anemia
Wegener's Granulomatosis
Diabetes: Type I Insulin Dependent/Juvenile Onset
Diabetes: Type II Insulin Dependent/Adult Onset
Diabetes: Type I Non-insulin Dependent/Juvenile Onset
Diabetes: Type II Non-insulin Dependent/Adult Onset
Polycystic Kidneys
Polycystic Kidneys
Hypertensive Nephrosclerosis
Hypertensive Nephrosclerosis
Renovascular and Other Vascular Diseases
Chronic Nephrosclerosis: Unspecified
Malignant Hypertension
Progressive Systemic Sclerosis
Renal Artery Thrombosis
Congenital, Rare Familial, and Metabolic Disorders
Congenital Obstructive Uropathy
Fabry's Disease
Medullary Cystic Disease
Prune Belly Syndrome
Tubular and Interstitial Diseases
Acquired Obstructive Nephropathy
Analgesic Nephropathy
Antibiotic-induced Nephritis
Cancer Chemotherapy-Induced Nephritis
Chronic Pyelonephritis/Reflex Nephropathy
Oxalate Nephropathy
Radiation Nephritis
Acute Tubular Necrosis
Cortical Necrosis
Cyclosporin Nephrotoxicity
Heroin Nephrotoxicity
Incidental Carcinoma
Renal Cell Carcinoma
Wilms' Tumor
Retransplant/Graft Failure
Retransplant/Graft Failure
Other Rheumatoid Arthritis
Other Familial Nephropathy