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
- 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
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.
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.