Any type of organ transplant is not an event or merely the surgery itself – it’s a process. It is helpful to think of think of transplant as occurring in four phases.
This phase starts at the point of discussion with your kidney doctor about the possibility of getting a transplant. It involves referral to the transplant institute for education and evaluation by the transplant team and the medical testing needed to determine if transplant is best for you. This phase includes the discussion of your case by our transplant multidisciplinary team. Once you are approved as a candidate, you will be placed on the UNOS national donor waiting list.
This phase starts at the point when you are officially placed on the national waiting list for a kidney transplant. During this phase, any potential living donor will be evaluated. You will maintain contact with the transplant institute and will be seen at least annually to keep your evaluation up to date. This can be a very frustrating phase in the process if you are waiting for a deceased donor, as you must keep yourself ready for transplant at all times – but there is no way to know when an offer will come. However, if you have a living donor, you will have a schedule date for your transplant. This phase ends when you actually receive a transplant.
This phase begins when you come to the hospital for a transplant. It includes the transplant surgery itself and the initial recuperation. The education you and your caregiver will receive is a critically important part of this phase. Arrangements will be made for your post-transplant lab work and follow-up care. Your caregiver needs to be with you in the hospital during education.
This phase involves your discharge from the hospital and transition home with your new kidney! You will have labs drawn and will be seen in the clinic on a regular basis. The frequency of your blood work and clinic visits will decrease the farther you are out from transplant. This phase continues throughout the lifespan of your new kidney.