Before a Kidney Transplant

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Get a Referral

The transplant process begins with a referral. You can either:

  • Get referred by your family doctor, your nephrologist or staff at your dialysis unit
  • Contact our referral coordinator yourself

Next, our referral specialist will ensure that you have adequate coverage for a kidney transplant evaluation. The specialist also works with your healthcare team to obtain medical records prior to your appointment.

The Evaluation Process

Before your visit to the transplant clinic, have your medical records sent to us, which include:

  • Your medical history
  • Recent diagnostic studies, such as chest X-ray, heart test or blood work

We’ll work with your referring provider to get this information.

Your first visit will take several hours. It will include:

  • A one-hour class that reviews all aspects of kidney transplant
  •  Individual meetings with a:
    • Transplant surgeon
    • Transplant nephrologist
    • Nurse coordinator
    • Financial coordinator
    • Social worker
    • Nutritionist

Waiting for A Kidney

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) manages the wait list for transplant organs. UNOS is a federally regulated, non-profit organization that uses a complex set of factors to ensure distribution of organs is handled fairly.

Kidneys are allocated based on several factors, including:

  • Your length of time on dialysis
  • Your length of time on the waiting list
  • Your blood type
  • Characteristics of the donor

Patients who are expected to need a kidney for the longest time will be matched with kidneys that are expected to last the longest. 

How Long Will I Wait?

Most patients will wait between 2-6 years before being offered a kidney.

When a Kidney is Available

Patients must be prepared at any time to receive an organ offer. This means you should:

  • Have a plan for transportation
  • Identify someone who will care for activities at home while you are hospitalized
  • Identify a care partner who will be available to help you at the time of transplant and afterwards