Preparing for a Transplant
How to prepare while you are on the national waiting list for a donor kidney.

Your telephone is your lifeline: Your transplant coordinator will call you as soon as a donor kidney becomes available. You may receive this call at any time of the day or night, so be prepared to move quickly when you do. At any time if your phone number or contact information changes, please be sure to let the transplant staff know.

Blood work: Your transplant coordinator will schedule periodic blood draws for antibodies screenings, so keep all your appointments.

Appointments: Keep all of your scheduled appointments and take your prescribed medicines. You will be required to have annual transplant re-evaluations until you receive a transplant.

Health: It is very important that you remain healthy and active during and after your transplant. Follow your doctor’s advice and diet recommendations.

What to bring to the hospital: We don’t recommend that you bring a lot of extra items. But we do recommend that you bring the following with you to the hospital:

  • All of your medicines (bring your medicine bottles)
  • List of all your medicines and the time of the last dose
  • Phone numbers of your support team (family/friends)
  • Copy of advance directives
  • Driver’s license or picture ID
  • Insurance card

Be ready to move quickly.

Living Kidney Donation

If you have a living kidney donor, be prepared to arrive at the hospital on the same day as their surgery. Here’s what you can expect:

One week before donation: You will visit the transplant center one week before the surgery to complete your final lab work and radiology tests. During this visit, you will also meet with the medical staff transplant surgeon, the medical staff donor surgeon, and transplant coordinator to review the donation procedure.

Day of donation: Plan to arrive at the hospital very early in the morning on the day of your donation surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms for donor surgery (donor nephrectomy), blood products, and anesthesia. Your transplant surgeon and transplant coordinator will check in with you before your surgery. You will have more lab work completed at this time.

Deceased kidney donation: When you receive a kidney from a deceased donor, there is a time limit on how long the organ can be outside of the body, so plan to do as much preparation as possible beforehand to get ready for the last part of your exciting journey. Here’s what you can expect:

If you have a deceased kidney donor, you will receive a call from the transplant team. Time is of the essence, so be prepared to arrive at the hospital and follow the specific instructions provided to you.

Once you arrive at the hospital, you will have more lab work completed, and the transplant team will discuss possible risks and issues that could affect the success of the transplant. The transplant team will take the steps necessary to finalize the cross-match, to ensure that you and your new kidney are compatible before surgery.

The videos below can provide some educational resources to help prepare for a transplant.

Videos About Kidney Transplants
  • Preparing for Your Kidney Transplant
  • Risks of Kidney Transplant Surgery
  • That Kidney Transplant Phone Call
  • Tips for Successful Kidney Transplant
  • Your Kidney Transplant Responsibilities
  • A Team Approach to Kidney Transplant
  • History of the Kidney Transplant Program
  • Kidney Transplant Orientation Class - English
  • Kidney Transplant Orientation Class - Spanish

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