What are the advantages of kidney transplantation over Dialysis? These include

1. Cost effectiveness: After the first two years of kidney transplantation, monthly cost of post transplant care (less than N50,000) is far less than Harmodialysis (N360,000 @ 30,000 per session, 3 times a week for 4 weeks)

2. Better quality of life: There is restoration of ability to sleep well, reason well and have a better sexual life after kidney transplantation. No more regular injections for blood or blood transfusion.

3. Gain of economic hours: During dialysis, patients spends average of 5hrs per visit and up to 3 visits per week in the hospital. Added to the time spent on traveling, an average of 6 to 8 hrs economic hours is lost. As kidney disease mainly affects the economically productive age group in Nigeria, this is a huge economic loss. 

In addition, the same time is lost for an accompanying person or persons.

4. Return of fertility: While there are reports of loss of libido in men and absence of menstruation in most female with end-stage kidney disease & on dialysis, there is  return of fertility after kidney transplantation. In fact, family planning is one of the advice given to females of reproductive age after a kidney transplant.

5. Survival: Kidney transplant improves survival far more than dialysis for a patient with end-stage kidney disease.  For a typical patient with end-stage kidney failure,  studies have shown that 5 year survival on dialysis is about 40% while 5 year survival after kidney transplantation is about 80%. Main causes of death in dialysis include heart problems and under dialysis, the latter been a leading cause of death in Nigeria. After kidney transplantation, with a functioning kidney, the burden of heart disease is lower.

So, with these five reasons, I think it is better to do a kidney transplantation than stay long on dialysis. Cost effectiveness, improved survival and quality of life stand out easily as the outstanding advantages of kidney transplantation over dialysis.

This is especially so in the Nigerian setting

Dr Chimezie Godswill Okwuonu


FMC Umuahia Kidney transplant program.

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