What Is A Kidney Transplant?

A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure involving the placement of a healthy donor kidney into the body of someone whose kidneys are no longer functioning properly. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located just below the rib cage on either side of the body. Each is about the size of a fist, and their main function is to filter and remove waste, minerals, and fluid from the body by producing urine. When the kidneys lose this ability to filter, harmful levels of fluid and waste can accumulate in the body, which can raise an individual’s blood pressure and result in kidney failure. 

The most common causes of kidney failure (i.e. end-stage kidney disease) include:

  • Chronic, uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis

People with kidney failure need to have waste removed from their bloodstream via a machine (a process known as dialysis) or need a kidney transplant to stay alive. Since the body only needs one healthy kidney to replace two malfunctioning kidneys, living donor transplants are possible. However, many living donors fail the initial screening process, making it difficult for those awaiting transplant to receive the organ they need. As of 2020, over ninety thousand people are awaiting kidney transplants in the United States.

How The VA Rates Kidney Transplants

For veterans who are experiencing kidney failure as a result of a service connected condition and plan to undergo a kidney transplant, they can qualify for compensation for their transplant. Under 38 CFR § 4.115b, the VA rates kidney transplants as follows: 

Diagnostic Code 7531: Kidney transplant

  • 100 – Following transplant surgery
  • Thereafter: Rate on residuals as renal dysfunction, minimum rating – 30

The 100 percent evaluation will be assigned as of the date of the veteran’s hospital admission for his or her transplant surgery and shall continue until one year from the date of hospital discharge. Following that point, the condition will be rated using the disability rating schedule for renal dysfunction, with a minimum rating of thirty percent.

Renal dysfunction:

  • 100 – Requiring regular dialysis, or precluding more than sedentary activity from one of the following: persistent edema and albuminuria; or, BUN more than 80mg%; or, creatinine more than 8mg%; or, markedly decreased function of kidney or other organ systems, especially cardiovascular
  • 80 – Persistent edema and albuminuria with BUN 40 to 80mg%; or, creatinine 4 to 8mg%; or, generalized poor health characterized by lethargy, weakness, anorexia, weight loss, or limitation of exertion
  • 60 – Constant albuminuria with some edema; or, definite decrease in kidney function; or, hypertension at least 40 percent disabling under diagnostic code 7101
  • 30 – Albumin constant or recurring with hyaline and granular casts or red blood cells; or, transient or slight edema or hypertension at least 10 percent disabling under diagnostic code 7101

Getting Help With Your Kidney Transplant Claim

If you are a veteran who is waiting for or who recently received a kidney transplant, and you are looking to get compensation for your condition, please contact our office today. Our veterans disability attorneys are experienced in getting veterans service connection for kidney-related conditions and are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.