Transplant: FAQs

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I’m choosing where to get my transplant. Can I visit your center before I’m a patient?

Yes, and we’re happy to schedule a tour or answer any questions you have before you schedule an appointment with us.

What risks do I face in getting a transplant?

Risks vary from patient to patient. All surgeries carry risk. An organ transplant can trigger rejection by your body's immune system. The immunosuppressive drugs you must take to avoid organ rejection can leave you open to other types of infection.

Will you ask me to participate in research studies?

You’re under no obligation to participate in research.

We have multiple studies/clinical trials going on. If we think you might qualify for one, we’ll talk with you about that opportunity.

What other options do I have besides transplant?

Not everyone is a candidate for transplant, but we'll do everything possible to help you qualify. We’ll review all of your treatment options with you. Then we'll decide together the safest, best treatment for you and your situation.

How can I prepare for my evaluation?

After you’ve made the appointment for your first visit, you’ll get a letter listing everything you need to bring. We’ll want to review:

  • What medications you’re taking
  • The providers you’re seeing
  • Your medical records (or where we can request copies)

Who will I see during my evaluation?

During your evaluation, you’ll meet with several members of the transplant team. Each will provide you with information and learn about your situation, including:

  • Social worker
  • Transplant nurse coordinator
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician
  • Nutritionist
  • Financial counselor

How long does the evaluation take?

It depends on a number of factors, including which organ is failing and the severity of your current medical condition.

Evaluations can take a short time, in just one visit, if: 

  • Your symptoms are stable
  • You've had some of the necessary health screening tests (mammogram, pap smear, dental visit, etc.) completed within the past year

The evaluation process may take longer and require more than one visit. We encourage your active participation and input in how long it takes. 

    Does my first visit affect whether or not I’m on the wait list for an organ?

    It can. During our review of your medical history and the team’s discussions with you, we may see something that tells us transplant may not be your best treatment option. Please know that our entire team is dedicated to help you qualify for a transplant and ensure you have the best possible outcome.

    How long will I have to wait for an organ?

    The wait varies by organ and by the severity of your symptoms – from hours to years.

    How close to your hospital do I need to live if I am on your waiting list?

    We generally don’t require anyone to live near our transplant center in order to get on a wait list or be a patient. At the time an organ is available, however, you’ll need to be able to get to the hospital as fast as possible. And you'll want to stay locally right after the transplant operation.

    To help us get you available organs, we’ll need to know where you are living or traveling from and how to reach you. We’ll want to make sure you have a reliable transportation plan to get here.

    Can I get on wait lists at other hospitals?

    Yes. You can get all of your questions about organ availability and wait lists answered by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). This organization manages all the wait lists and organ donor-recipient matching across the country.

    What kind of support will I get while waiting for an organ?

    You’ll be assigned a transplant coordinator. As your primary point of contact at the transplant center, you’ll be able to reach a coordinator 24/7.

    What medications will I take after I leave the hospital?

    We will tailor your medication list for you. Some changes that may happen:

    • You'll probably stop taking medications that treat the symptoms of your failed organ.
    • You'll most likely keep taking medications you take for other medical issues.
    • You'll have to start taking several medications to prevent organ rejection and infection.

    How frequently will I have to follow up?

    That depends on the organ transplanted. You may have weekly visits at first that then become monthly checkups. Typically, the frequency of visits becomes less the further out you are from the transplant surgery.

    If I have complications, do I have to return to the hospital where I had the transplant?

    Yes. While this is true in general, you'll especially want to get care from providers who know your history in the first year after your transplant.