Transplant Process

A transplant is not a cure for kidney disease, but many people seek this procedure in the hope of no longer having to rely on dialysis. The success rate of kidney transplants is also very encouraging to individuals seeking this option. But, again, not everyone is a good candidate for this procedure.

The only method of determining who is a good candidate for receiving a new kidney is to establish contact with a transplant hospital and to obtain an evaluation by a transplant physician. Evaluations are based on an individual's medical history, current health status, and other determining factors. Only then can a prospective recipient hope to get on the hospital's list for prospective transplant candidates.

Excellent Success Rates

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) reported a 97.9% success rate for living-donor transplants after a one-year period. The report further indicates a 94.5% success rate for kidney transplants from diseased donors for the same period.  While this news is encouraging, and is prompting even more demand for transplants, it's important for prospective recipients to know the inherent advantages and disadvantages of the procedure.

The Advantages

  • You will not need dialysis once the new kidney begins working;
  • There will be very few diet and no fluid restrictions;
  • You will enjoy a more active life at work, school, or travel;
  • Following transplantation, women may be able to bear children.

The Disadvantages

  • For the first three months following a transplant, you will need to see a doctor frequently (often several times a week) and have your blood drawn for analysis. Additional frequent doctor visits (as advised by your transplant physician) will continue for as long as your kidney or kidney/pancreas is functioning.
  • You will have to take immunosuppressive medications daily for as long as the organ is working, which may prompt long-term side effects, including infections and/or different types of cancers.

The First Step
You must undergo an evaluation before you will be considered for a transplant. This process includes:

  • A physical evaluation;
  • A psychosocial evaluation;
  • Financial counseling;
  • A battery of laboratory tests.

The Main Tests
Some tests will have already been performed at your dialysis center. It is very important that you have the following tests in order to be considered for a kidney transplant: 

  • A variety of laboratory testing (see below);
  • Chest X-ray;
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG);
  • Renal ultrasound; and
  • Mammogram and gynecological examination for women.

During the first transplant clinic visit, the transplant team will review your past medical and surgical history. After this phase is completed, the transplant coordinator will discuss with you other required tests and the transplantation process.

 

How the Transplant Waiting List Works

Helpful Links

How the Transplant Waiting List Works 
The kidney transplant waiting list is a list of transplant candidates maintained by the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS holds the contract to operate the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN).How do I become eligible to be placed on the waiting list? Read More

Multiple Listing
Multiple listing involves listing at two or more transplant centers. Since candidates at centers local to the donor hospital are usually considered ahead of those who are more distant, multiple listing may increase your chances of receiving a local organ offer.  Read more

Ten Transplant Tips 
Having a transplant can be a wonderful experience, but as in all aspects of treatment you must do your part. What is your part, you ask? Let’s look at the top ten things that you need to know to be successful with a kidney transplant.  Read more

How the Transplant Waiting List Works