The Odds Of Receiving A Kidney Transplant After Suffering A Heart Attack? Strategies You Can Adopt

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You may not qualify for a kidney transplant if you have had a heart attack depending on the extent of the attack and your current heart health. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) itself is not usually fatal, but the main cause of death for kidney patients is heart disease. Many people live successfully on dialysis. Damage to the heart can happen in early kidney failure, before dialysis or a transplant is ever prescribed. This damage is likely due to high blood pressure, anemia, fluid overload and wastes that build up in the blood as kidneys begin to fail.

Recommended Reading:  Many with CKD die from Cardiovascular Disease instead of Kidney Disease

Each individual patient who desires a kidney transplant is evaluated by a transplant team to determine if s/he is healthy enough.  If you have serious medical problems such as severe heart, lung or liver disease, advanced cancer, or active infection, you may not be eligible. Whether your cardiovascular disease is caused by complications of your kidney disease or by another underlying cause, it is important to be aware of the impact it can have on your overall health and potential for a transplant. Neither dialysis nor a transplant can do anything to repair an already damaged heart so treating the cause of your cardiovascular disease will help you feel better by  improving the quality of your life, and increase your chances of receiving a kidney transplant.

Recommended Reading: FIVE KIDNEY TRANSPLANTS:  How and Why?

Every person is different but a few simple changes in your behavior can reduce your risk of heart disease, increase your CKD health outcomes, and make your whole body feel better.

  • Stop smoking. If you have CKD and you smoke, stop! Smoking can damage the arteries and makes heart disease worse. There is no easy way to do this, you have to find the determination and will-power to stop this habit. Talk to your doctor about the options you may have available.
  • Eat a healthy diet. This is commonly thought of as a "no-brainer" and a "throw away" suggestion. Do not let it pass you by. If you eat food that is fresh and low in salt and avoid fatty foods it will go a long way in improving your CKD outcomes and decreasing your risk of heart disease. Avoid fluid overload and ask your healthcare team for advice as needed.
  • Monitor cholesterol. If the level of cholesterol (fat) in your blood is too high despite a good diet, you may need to take or increase statins to lower the level. Talk to your doctor about this, do not increase your medication regimen without the appropriate approval.
  • Exercise regularly and moderately. "If I have heart disease should I exercise?" Some people that have heart disease worry that if they exercise it may increase their heart rate and put them at a higher risk of heart complications. Ironically, exercise keeps your heart and muscles strong and healthy. Not all exercise is the same, however, so discuss your exercise program with your healthcare team BEFORE starting because you do not want to do an exercise that is overly extraneous and puts you at serious health risk.
  • Check your blood pressure regularly. High blood pressure will continue to damage your kidneys and put strain on the heart and other blood vessels. Your doctor should measure your blood pressure regularly and may prescribe medication to bring it down.
  • Make sure you are not anemic. Work with your dietitian, nurse and Nephrologist to bring your anemia under control by closely monitoring your lab results and medication.

Recommended Reading:  What Kidney Patients can Expect During the Kidney Transplant Procedure

Though a heart attack may not automatically disqualify you from receiving a Kidney Transplant, depending on your health history and how extensive the heart attack was you may be ineligible. Heart dysfunction is very common in people suffering with CKD. However, KidneyBuzz.com encourages you to empower yourself by maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle which will reduce your risk of heart disease and dying prematurely as well as increase your chances to receive a Kidney Transplantation.

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References:  

"Heart Problems." Baxter Renal

"Chronic Kidney Disease and Your Heart." - DaVita

"Kidney TransplantTransplant Evaluation." UCSF Medical Center.  

"Kidney Transplant Eligibility." Mayo Clinic