Pros and Cons of Kidney Transplant vs. Dialysis


Dec 28, 2022

Pros and Cons of Kidney Transplant vs. Dialysis

Pros and Cons of Kidney Transplant vs. Dialysis


Kidney disease is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects millions of people around the world. The kidneys are two small, bean-shaped organs that are located on either side of the spine, just below the rib cage. They are essential for maintaining the body's overall health and well-being, as they perform two main functions: cleaning the blood and removing excess salt and water from the body.

There are two main types of kidney disease: Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) and Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). AKI is a sudden and often reversible decline in kidney function that occurs over a period of days or weeks. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as infection, medication, or injury. If the underlying cause is identified and treated promptly, the kidney function may improve and may even return to normal.

CKD, on the other hand, is a progressive decline in kidney function that occurs over a period of months or years. It is most commonly caused by long-term health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, and is often irreversible. Although it may not be possible to restore kidney function to normal levels, good control of risk factors and regular follow-up care can help to slow or stop further damage to the kidneys.

As kidney function declines, patients with CKD may start to experience a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, changes in taste, loss of appetite, weight loss, itching, difficulty thinking or concentrating, increased potassium levels, fluid buildup, and difficulty breathing. Once these symptoms start, patients typically have two options: dialysis or kidney transplantation.


Dialysis is a medical treatment that takes over some of the functions of the failing kidneys. It involves the use of a machine to filter waste products, electrolytes, and excess fluid from the blood. There are two main types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. Hemodialysis involves removing a small amount of blood from the patient's body, running it through a machine that cleans it, and then returning it to the body. Peritoneal dialysis involves the use of a special fluid that is injected into the abdomen through a tube, and then removed again after a set period of time.

Kidney Transplantation

Kidney transplantation is another option for patients with severe kidney failure. It involves replacing the failing kidneys with a healthy, functioning kidney from a donor. This can be a more complete solution than dialysis, as the transplant kidney takes over all of the functions of the failing kidneys.

Dialysis vs. Transplant

Dialysis or kidney transplantation may be recommended for patients with advanced kidney disease, when the kidneys are no longer able to function effectively. It is generally best to begin dialysis or pursue a kidney transplant before kidney disease has progressed to the point where life-threatening complications occur. This usually takes many months or years after kidney disease is first discovered, although in some cases severe kidney failure may be discovered for the first time in people who were not previously known to have kidney disease.

There are several factors that should be taken into account when deciding whether dialysis or kidney transplantation is the best option for a patient. These may include the patient's kidney function (as measured by blood and urine tests), overall health, and personal preferences. Most patients will start dialysis when their kidney function is less than 10 percent of normal, as this is typically when symptoms of kidney failure start to occur.

Dr. Ajay Kher stated:

"If we compare the two, transplant is the better option for most patients for three main reasons:
1. Transplantation can increase life expectancy
2. Improve quality of life
3. Allow for greater flexibility in terms of food and water intake and travel. "

However, it is important to note that kidney transplantation is not always a feasible option, as it requires a compatible donor kidney and a successful surgery. In addition, patients who receive a kidney transplant will need to take immunosuppressive medications for the rest of their lives to prevent rejection of the transplanted kidney.

It is also worth noting that not everyone is eligible for a kidney transplant. There are certain medical conditions and behaviors that can disqualify a person from receiving a transplant, such as active cancer, uncontrolled infections, substance abuse, or a history of noncompliance with medical treatment.


In conclusion, kidney disease is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life and life expectancy. Dialysis and kidney transplantation are two treatment options that can help to manage the symptoms and complications of advanced kidney disease. While kidney transplantation can offer many benefits, it is not always a feasible option and may not be the best choice for everyone. It is important for patients with kidney disease to work closely with their healthcare team to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for their individual needs and circumstances.


In this video, Dr. Ajay Kher discusses the pros and cons of a kidney transplant and dialysis.

Related Articles

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

What is Dialysis?


Choosing between Dialysis and a Kidney Transplant

About the Author

Rich Foreman brings over 30 years of technology leadership to his role of CEO and Co-Founder of KidneySoft.  As founding CTO, Rich led the team that developed the CordicoShield / CordicoFire Wellness App. Cordico was honored with the Sacramento Innovation Award in 2021. After achieving a 7 digit ARR, Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020. Rich has a BS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington, an MPA from Troy State University and was an officer in the U.S. Navy. Rich co-authored his book, "Tap into the Mobile Economy." Rich's blog was listed in Top 20 Marketing Mobile Blogs of 2014. He has been featured on KCRA3, NEWS10, 1170 Tech AM PowerDrive, Business Radio Money 105.5, SiliconIndia, the Sacramento Business Journal, and the Sacramento Bee. Rich is also the Founding Director of the Sacramento Chapter of Startup Grind and served a term as Utility Commissioner for the City of Folsom. Rich is a regular contributor to and StartupSac. Rich was the Co-founder of Apptology which was named Small Business of the Year in 2014 by the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber. He was also the Founding Chief Technology Officer at Cordico. Cordico was acquired by Lexipol in 2020.  Rich also served 4 years as a Naval Officer in the Civil Engineer Corps.

Patient Education Disclaimer

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the advice or counsel of a doctor or health care professional. KidneyLuv makes every effort to provide information that is accurate and timely, but makes no guarantee in this regard. You should consult with, and rely only on the advice of, your physician or health care professional.

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