Preparing for a Kidney Transplant

Be Ready When the Time Comes


Our team at the UMC Center for Transplantation will work closely alongside you to determine whether you meet the eligibility requirements for a kidney transplant. Our team assesses whether you are healthy enough to have surgery and tolerate lifelong post-transplant medications. We will also determine if you have any medical conditions that would hinder the success of your transplant. In addition, we will ensure that you are willing and able to take medications as directed and follow the recommendations of your transplant team.

Finding a donor

A kidney donor can be living or deceased, related or unrelated to you. Your health care team will consider several factors, such as blood and tissue types, when evaluating whether a living donor will be a good match for you. Family members are often the most likely to be compatible kidney donors. However, many people undergo successful transplants with kidneys donated from people who are unrelated.

If a compatible living donor is not available, your name will be placed on a waiting list for a deceased-donor kidney. Because there are fewer available kidneys than there are people waiting for a transplant, the waiting list continues to grow. The waiting time for a deceased donor kidney can be a year or longer.

Paired kidney donor exchange may be an option if you have found someone willing to donate a kidney, but the donor's blood and tissue are not compatible with yours. Rather than donating a kidney directly to you, your donor may give a kidney to another person whose blood and tissue are compatible. In exchange, you will receive a kidney from another transplant patient's donor.

Stay Healthy

Whether you are waiting for a donated kidney, or your transplant surgery is already scheduled, you should work to stay healthy. Being healthy can make it more likely that you will be ready for the transplant surgery when the time comes. It may also help speed your recovery from surgery. Please follow the recommendations below:

  1. Take your medications as prescribed.
  2. Follow the diet and exercise guidelines recommended by your transplant team.
  3. Keep all appointments with your health care team.
  4. Stay involved in healthy activities, including relaxing and spending time with family and friends.
  5. Stay in touch with your transplant team and let them know of any significant changes in your health.

Remain Prepared for Your Surgery

If you are waiting for a donated kidney, make sure the transplant team knows how to reach you at all times. Keep your packed hospital bag handy, and make arrangements for transportation to the transplant center in advance.

Wait-List Maintenance

In order to stay active on the wait-list, it is necessary for you to follow up annually with the transplant center and to update your testing. The UMC Kidney Transplant Program is required to keep up-to-date clinical information for all patients on the wait-list.

  • Patients, referring physicians and dialysis centers are encouraged to keep the UMC Transplant team updated on the candidate’s medical condition.
  • Patients are informed that they have a responsibility to contact the transplant team if they have any changes in their medical, financial or social status.
  • If a patient’s medical status should change for any reason while they are on the UNOS wait-list, the transplant nephrologist and/or medical director will be notified.
  • Reported changes must be made on the UMC Transplant Wait-List within 24 hours so that everyone has up-to-date information about each patient.
  • A member of the Kidney Transplant Program will contact wait-listed patients periodically to review their clinical, financial and contact information.

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