Children with ARPKD who are kidney transplant candidates undergo the same evaluation as any other child with kidney failure (when function drops below roughly 20 percent).
An evaluation will include:
- A physical examination
- Laboratory tests
- Radiology tests (X-rays)
- A dental exam (to ensure oral health is adequate)
- A nutritional exam
- Social/psychological evaluation to determine readiness for transplant and to provide support due to stress that may have developed for both the child and family.
Additional considerations: If the child’s immunization status is not up to date, additional vaccines will be given prior to the transplant to minimize the risk for infection. The child’s existing kidneys may also be removed prior to or at the time of the transplant to help control high blood pressure or to create room for the transplant in those with extremely large kidneys.
The child will typically remain in the hospital for 1-2 weeks following the kidney transplant, at which time they will be administered medication and monitored for rejection and infection. This time will also help equip children and caregivers with the information and resources they will need following the transplant, including the roles of different medications and the importance of regular assessments and blood tests.
Regular follow-up of the child by their physician and the transplant team following a kidney transplant is imperative, as these visits will monitor for the development of complications related to the transplant.