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Treatments & Procedures

Kidney Transplant Terms

Acute tubular necrosis (ATN) — Reversible kidney damage that results in delayed kidney function. Once treated, ATN is usually resolved in one to two weeks.

Allograft (allogenic graft or homograft) — Transplant tissue acquired from the same species (i.e., human).

Atherosclerosis — A disease in which fatty deposits accumulate on the inner walls of the arteries, causing narrowing or blockage that may result in a heart attack. Commonly known as "hardening of the arteries."

Antibody — A substance that is produced by the immune system in response to specific antigens, thereby helping the body fight infection and foreign substances.

Antigen — Substance that may trigger an immune response. An antigen may be introduced into the body or formed within the body (i.e., bacteria, toxins, foreign blood cells).

Biopsy — Removal of a sample of tissue with a small needle. The tissue is then examined to determine a diagnosis.

Blood typing — A test that can help establish compatibility between two different types of blood. Blood types include A, B, AB, and O.

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) — A waste product regularly removed by the kidneys and eliminated in the urine. Regular testing of the BUN level can indicate how well the kidney is functioning.

Cadaveric donor — An individual who has recently passed away of causes not affecting the organ intended for transplant. Cadaver organs usually come from people who have willed their organs before death by signing organ donor cards. Permission for donation can also be given by the deceased person's family at the time of death.

Chest x-ray — Used to view the lungs and lower respiratory tract for diagnosis and therapy.

Cholesterol — A fatty substance that is acquired in part from certain foods. A high cholesterol level may lead to atherosclerosis.

Creatinine — A waste product in the blood that is removed by the kidneys and eliminated in the urine. Regular testing of the creatinine level indicates how well the kidney is functioning.

Cross matching — A test that establishes the compatibility or closeness of blood between the organ donor and recipient.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV) — A common virus that may be present without causing symptoms in healthy people, but can cause serious conditions if present in transplant patients.

Diastolic — The lower number in a blood pressure reading that indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.

Echocardiogram — A procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to examine the heart. This procedure may be used for the same purpose as an electrocardiogram.

Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) — A test that records the electrical activity of the heart. An EKG helps a physician determine the causes of abnormal heart beat or detect heart damage.

Gallbladder x-ray — Views the gallbladder to determine the presence of gallstones.

Gingival hypertrophy — Enlargement of the gums. This condition is a common side effect of the medication cyclosporine (Sandimmune) and is easily managed with good oral hygiene.

Glucose — A type of sugar found in the blood. Glucose is a vital carbohydrate for the body's metabolism.

Graft — A transplanted tissue or organ (such as the kidney or liver).

Hirsutism — An excessive increase of hair growth, sometimes leading to male pattern hair growth in a female. Hirsutism is a common side effect of corticosteroids and can also occur with cyclosporine (Sandimmune) therapy. Hirsutism can be treated with depilatory creams or other hair removal methods.

Hypertension — High blood pressure.

Immune system —The body's response mechanism for fighting against bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances. If the body does not recognize a cell or tissue (such as bacteria or a transplanted organ), the immune system will act against the "invader." The immune system is the body's way to fight disease.

Immunosuppression —The use of medications to suppress the formation of an immune response.

Living-related donor — An immediate family member (parent, sibling, or child) who donates an organ. The living donor may also be an uncle, aunt, cousin, or even a spouse.

Lower GI (gastrointestinal) series — A series of x-rays used to determine intestinal abnormalities.

Nephrologist — A physician with extensive training and experience in the areas of kidney disease and transplantation.

Noncompliance — Failure to follow instructions given by health care providers, such as not taking medication as prescribed or not attending follow-up appointments.

Pulmonary function test — A test used to reveal lung capacity and function, and to determine the blood's capacity to transport oxygen.

Rejection — An immune system response that occurs when the immune system treats a transplanted organ as a foreign "invader" and acts against it. If left untreated, rejection can result in organ failure.

Renal scan — A test used to examine the function of a transplanted kidney. A small amount of radioactive material is administered intravenously to progress through the kidney. A "scanner" is positioned over the kidney to evaluate the material's movement. This test is completed several times following a transplant to determine the kidney's function.

Stress test — A test that uses exercise to evaluate cardiovascular fitness.

Systolic — The top number in a blood pressure reading which indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood.

Tissue typing — A test to evaluate the compatibility or closeness of tissue between the organ donor and recipient.

Trough levels — Refers to the 12-hour period between an evening dose of cyclosporine (Sandimmune) and blood work completed the next morning. Important: Do not take a morning dose of cyclosporine until the blood work has been completed.

Upper GI (gastrointestinal) series — A series of x-rays used to determine intestinal abnormalities.

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 9/15/2008...#4213