Here It Happens – Brazil Is The Third Largest Kidney Transplant Country In The World

15 March 2022 – 08:00

Celebrated annually on the second Thursday of March, World Kidney Day aims to raise awareness of kidney disease and the need for strategies to prevent, promote and manage these conditions. In Brazil, kidney transplantation accounts for approximately 70% of all organ transplants, 90% of which are fully funded by the Unified Health System (SUS).

In absolute numbers, the country ranks third in the world among the largest kidney transplant recipients. Last year, 4,828 such procedures were registered. It is estimated that there are 850 million people with kidney disease worldwide, due to several factors. In Brazil, it is estimated that more than ten million people have kidney disease.

Currently, there are 729 qualified high complexity chronic kidney disease care facilities in the SUS, providing hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and pre-dialysis care. In 2021, the federal government, through the Ministry of Health, invested R$3.2 billion in treatments related to these diseases.

Fundamental to the functioning of the body, the kidneys have the basic function of filtering the blood and helping to eliminate toxins from the body. The kidneys are two reddish-brown organs located on either side of the spine, in the lower back, just below the diaphragm, behind the liver and stomach. They are characterized by the shape of beans and each measure about 12 centimeters long by 6 centimeters wide and 3 centimeters thick, weighing about 150 grams.

Because they form a pair, kidneys can be donated both during life and after death, as kidney function can be maintained by a single kidney, without harming the health of the donor.

Kidney transplantation is recommended for patients with irreversible failure – when the kidneys lose their basic functions – usually caused by progressive chronic kidney disease. Usually, this type of disease does not show significant symptoms in the early stages, but if not treated properly, it can progress to serious conditions, such as kidney failure, in which the patient needs treatments such as dialysis and kidney transplantation.

Chronic kidney disease is directly related to lifestyles and living conditions. A healthy diet, regular physical activity, and drinking plenty of water help prevent these conditions. Treatment and control of risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease and smoking are the main ways to prevent kidney disease. Early diagnosis helps prevent disease progression in most cases.

Care line
In February, the Ministry of Health developed materials to help health professionals, public managers and the public identify and treat chronic kidney disease in adults. The information is available on the Linhas decuidado platform, an interactive tool created by the Secretariat of Primary Health Care, which brings together guidelines on eight health topics: stroke; systemic arterial hypertension; HIV/AIDS and obesity (all in adults), in addition to autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children and type 2 diabetes mellitus, viral hepatitis and smoking at any age. 17 other themes are under development.

On the page it is possible to consult the protocols, guidelines and technical standards established by the Ministry and by the State and Municipal Health Services related to the subjects already available.

In December 2021, the Ministry of Health readjusted the values ​​for the cost of hemodialysis services by 12.5% ​​and by 24.3% for peritoneal dialysis by the SUS. The annual financial impact with the new values ​​is R$401 million, including R$369.9 million for hemodialysis and R$31.1 million for peritoneal dialysis and directly covers chronic kidney patients throughout Brasil.

by Ministry of Health

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