Mikel Prieto, M.D., surgical director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Research Program at Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, discusses preemptive kidney transplantation.
For patients with end-stage kidney disease, specialists must replace the function of the kidneys with one of two renal replacement therapies: dialysis or kidney transplant.
In dialysis therapy, a machine cleans the blood. Dialysis is only able to perform about 10 percent of the work a kidney performs. It can also cause serious health problems.
Kidney transplant is the preferred therapy. In preemptive kidney transplant, patients receive a kidney transplant, usually from a live donor, before they need to begin dialysis. Preemptive kidney transplant is the best option for patients: It can result in better function of the new kidney, enhance overall health and improve life expectancy.