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Pre Kidney Transplant

Before Your Kidney Transplant

Once the patient has chosen the path of transplantation for treatment, the patient will receive a thorough evaluation from the kidney transplant team, which includes transplant nephrologists, transplant surgeons, transplant nurses, financial counselors, social workers, and dietitians. The overall evaluation takes approximately three days and includes:

  • Diagnostic & Blood Testing - Necessary tests will include blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds,  CT scans and cardiac testing.
  • Appointments to See Other Specialists - Referrals to other physicians such as cardiologists, gynecologists, urologists and gastroenterologists may be necessary. The purpose of these referrals is to determine if it is safe to proceed with kidney transplantation.
  • Psychosocial Evaluation - The psychosocial evaluation helps prepare the patient and loved ones for kidney transplantation. Financial counselors are also available to help make necessary arrangements prior to transplantation.
  • Patient Education - The Transplant Center's commitment to patient education begins at the first visit. Understanding the transplant process is a crucial part of successful kidney transplantation.

Once the evaluation is complete and the results of the tests are received, the multidisciplinary transplant team will confirm that kidney transplantation is a safe option for the patient and place the patient on the kidney transplant national waiting list. After being confirmed as a transplant candidate the patient will proceed with either living-donor kidney transplantation or deceased-donor kidney transplantation.

Living Donor Kidney Transplantation

Living donor kidney transplantation is the preferred method for offering kidney transplantation to patients with kidney disease.

Advantages

Living donor kidney transplantation provides the recipient with several advantages compared to deceased donor kidney transplantation:

  • Better kidney and patient survival according to national studies
  • Significant reduction in the waiting time prior to transplantation
  • The transplant operation can be scheduled for a time that is convenient for the patient, the donor, and their loved ones

Who are Living Donors?

Living donors are volunteers and are sometimes, but not always, members of the recipient's family. The recipient and potential donor will be checked for blood-type compatibility, but incompatibility does not exclude a donor from donating to a recipient.

Paired Donation System

If a donor is not a blood type match with the person they want to donate to, they may still be able to donate their kidney through the Paired Donation system. This system allows the potential kidney recipients to "swap" kidneys with a different donor who is a blood type match.

Evaluation of Living Donors

The comfort and safety of the living donor is the ultimate priority for the Transplant Center. Potential donors are fully evaluated by a kidney specialist, a surgeon, and a donor advocate to ensure the donor's suitability for kidney donation.

The Donor's Surgery

Donor operations are conducted laparoscopically by two experienced surgeons working together to ensure the donor's safety. Laparoscopic surgery allows for minimal scarring and significantly reduced pain compared to conventional open surgery. Most living donors are ready to leave the hospital two days after surgery and many return to work within weeks of their procedure.

Become a Living Donor

For more information on becoming a living donor, please contact the Transplant Center at (713) 704-5200.

Deceased Donor Kidney Transplantation

The majority of kidney transplant patients receive their organ from a deceased donor. Deceased donor kidneys are a scarce resource, and in most cases are distributed to potential recipients based primarily on waiting time.

Kidney Transplant Waiting List

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) administers the national kidney transplant waiting list. Waiting times vary depending on blood type, and the average waiting time at our center is 3.5 years to 4 years. Although this waiting time is long, it is shorter than average waiting times at many other centers in our region and around the country.

Patients awaiting kidney transplantation on our transplant list are seen by Transplant Center physicians on an annual basis to ensure that they will be ready for transplantation when the kidney becomes available.

Become an Organ Donor

The generosity of deceased donors is the foundation of organ transplantation and provides hope for the more than 100,000 people waiting for an organ transplant nationwide. Please visit donatelifetexas.org for more information on organ donation.