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    Healthy Diet Critical to Transplant Success

    Prior to transplantation, end-stage renal disease patients need to be in the best health possible. In addition to following a regular dialysis schedule, receiving vaccinations and avoiding contact with those who are sick, a healthy diet is critical to a successful transplant outcome. While patients on hemodialysis face more restricted dietary guidelines, those on peritoneal dialysis must also watch their food intake to maintain good health.

    Hemodialysis Diet

    Typically hemodialysis patients follow a renal diet that limits consumption of potassium, phosphorus, sodium, fluids and proteins. Restricting intake of these nutrients and fluids helps prevent the dangerous build up of toxins and wastes in the bloodstream. In people without kidney failure, the body processes the nutrients it needs and the kidneys eliminate the remaining nutrients. In patients with kidney damage, however, the kidneys can't eliminate excess fluids and nutrients, so intake is limited to prevent an electrolyte imbalance.

    Peritoneal Dialysis Diet

    Because peritoneal dialysis sessions occur more frequently than hemodialysis, dietary restrictions are less strict. Even so, patients should consult with their physician or dialysis dietitian because protein loss is common. To increase protein levels, eat foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs and tofu.

    Post-Transplant Diet Restrictions

    In general, the strict diet limitations patients may face pre-transplant do not apply post-transplant. Patients need to start eating phosphorus-containing foods (dairy products and others) and can usually begin eating potassium-containing foods as well.

    Following transplantation, patients should limit the amount of fat and cholesterol in their diet because anti-rejection medications and a liberalized diet can cause elevated cholesterol and fat levels. Patients also need to be careful of weight gain that may occur from anti-rejection medications.

    To help extend the life of a transplanted kidney, follow these guidelines:

    • Limit your sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol intake

    • Monitor your weight and eat a well-balanced diet with selections from all food groups

    • Take 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium daily to keep your bones healthy
    Additionally, regular exercise (30 minutes at least three times a week) will help control your weight.

    About California Pacific Medical Center

    California Pacific Medical Center, part of the Sutter Health network, offers kidney, pancreas, liver and heart transplantation as part of our Barry S. Levin, MD Department of Transplant.

    Kidney & Pancreas Transplant Program
    California Pacific Medical Center
    2340 Clay Street
    San Francisco, CA 94115
    Tel. 415-600-1700

    Outreach locations available throughout Northern California and in Reno.