Services > Transplantation > Kidney Transplant Glossary - LLUMC Transplantation Institute


Acute Care Area - An area of the hospital where patients go after their medical condition has improved and they no longer need intensive care.

Acute Tubular Necrosis (ATN) - Reversible kidney damage resulting in delayed kidney function. This can be caused by anti-rejection medications that prevent rejection or prolonged organ storage before transplant.

Activated - This means your name has been placed on the national UNOS waiting list.

Angiogram - A test used to determine if there are any blockages in the blood vessels leading to or from an organ such as the kidneys or your heart. To conduct the test, a dye is injected into a blood vessel, usually in the groin area.

Anemic - Low red blood cell count.

Antibody - A protein substance made by the body's immune system in response to a foreign substance, for example, a previous transplant, blood transfusion, pregnancy, virus, or bacteria.

Antigen - A foreign substance or event (such as a transplant) that triggers an immune response. This response may be the production of antibodies.

Bacteria - Small organisms (germs) that can cause disease.

Biopsy - A procedure whereby a small piece of tissue from an organ, such as a kidney, is obtained by inserting a special needle through the abdominal wall. A biopsy is done to assess any damage to an organ.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) - A waste product from the blood that the kidney excretes in the urine. This blood test is checked to show how well the kidney is working.

Blood Type - There are four (4) types of blood--A. B, AB, & O. Every person has one of these types of blood.

Central Venous Line (CVP) - A central venous line is a special IV needle that is put into a big vein (usually in the neck or shoulder). This kind of IV can be used to draw blood, give medicine, and measure heart pressures. The central line will be put in during surgery.

Cold Ischemic Time - The amount of time the organ was out of the donor's body, placed on ice and transplanted into the recipient.

Compatible - Likeness or similarity between donor and recipient blood type or organs.

CMV Infection - A viral infection caused by the cytomegalovirus.

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) - A type of dialysis that you do at home using fluid exchange through the abdomen.

Corticosteroids - A category of immunosuppressive medications that includes prednisone and prednisolone.

Creatinine - A waste product from the blood that the kidney excretes in the urine. This blood test helps measure kidney function.

Cross-match - A test in which donor and recipient blood samples are mixed together. A "positive'' cross-match shows that the donor and recipient are incompatible. A negative cross-match shows there is no reaction between the donor and recipient. This means that the donor and recipient are compatible and the transplant may proceed.

Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD) - A type of dialysis done at night while you sleep. A machine called a cycler is used.

Diabetes - A disease in which the body has high levels of sugar in the blood.

Edema - Excess fluid in body tissues; swelling of the ankles, for example, is a sign of edema.

ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) - The condition of chronic failure of the kidney for which a person needs dialysis or transplant to survive.

Electrolytes - Substances such as potassium and sodium that are found in the blood.

Financial Evaluation - A meeting with the financial coordinator to review your insurance coverage and financial status.

Foley Catheter - This is a tube that goes through your urethra in to your bladder. It has a balloon on the end to keep it in your bladder. It is connected to a drainage bag on the other end. The Foley catheter will he placed during surgery. It is removed 4-5 days after surgery. The purpose of the Foley catheter is to make sure your bladder does not get too full and break the stitches where the ureter is connected.

Hemodialysis - A type of dialysis done at a dialysis center under medical supervision.

Herpes - A family of viruses that infect humans: herpes simplex causes lip and genital sores; herpes zoster causes shingles.

Hypertension - Another name for high blood pressure.

Immune Response - The body's defense against things that are not normally a part of the body, such as bacteria, viruses, blood transfusions, or a transplanted organ.

Immunosuppression - Suppression of the immune response, usually through medications, so that the body will not reject a transplanted organ.

Immunosuppressant - Medications that are able to block the body's immune response.

Immunosuppressive Medications - Medications that are able to block the body's immune response.

Incentive Spirometer - A piece of equipment that you will use to help exercise your breathing muscles and prevent pneumonia after surgery. This is part of your deep breathing exercises. The nurse will show you how to use it and how to deep breathe and cough.

Incompatible - No likeness or similarity between donor and recipient blood type or organs.

Intravenous (IV) - Medication or fluid given thru a vein.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU) - An area of the hospital where a patient will be monitored closely for a critical medical condition.

Orally - By mouth.

Panel Reactive Antibody ( PRA) - A way of measuring how active your immune system is. When you make more antibodies, the PRA is high. It is harder to get transplanted when you have a high PRA.

Rejection - A condition that occurs when the body recognizes an antigen, such as a transplanted organ, as foreign and tries to attack it. Immunosuppresive medications are used to prevent or treat rejection.

Platelet - A small blood cell needed for normal blood clotting.

Street Drugs - Illegal drugs such as marijuana, speed, cocaine, heroin, crack, etc.

Thromboguards - Plastic leg wraps that fit around your legs from the ankle to the knee. They are connected to a machine that inflates and deflates them on a cyclical basis. This is to help the blood flow in your legs and prevent clots in your leg veins. You will be able to take these off when you get out of bed.

Ted Hose - Elastic stockings used to help the blood flow in your legs and prevent blood clots.

Ureters - Tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder. There is one ureter for each kidney.

Urethra - The tube that drains urine from your bladder to the outside of your body.

Tissue Typing - When a sample of your blood is checked for your "genetic" makeup. This helps match you to a donor organ.

Thrush - A fungus infection in the mouth.

Ultrasound - Test done on the outside of your body to look at your organs. The probe, or doppler, is placed on your skin and uses sound waves to create a picture of your internal organs.

Virus - A very small agent (germ) that causes infection.

White Blood Cell - Cells in the blood that fight infection; part of the immune system.