What should I expect from my pre-transplant evaluation?

Kidney Pre-Transplant Evaluations

To be considered as a candidate for kidney transplantation, you will first undergo a thorough transplant evaluation. During this two-day process, the transplant team will be looking for medical and/or emotional conditions that would affect the chances for a successful transplant. You will have numerous consultations of members of the team. You will also have a series of tests which may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Heart tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Dental exam
  • Complete physical exam

Upon completion of your evaluation, the multidisciplinary transplant team will carefully review all the information from the evaluation and give their recommendation of the best treatment option for you. You will then be contacted by a transplant coordinator to discuss your plan of care.

Blood Testing

The following blood tests will be performed as part of your pre-transplant evaluation:

ABO

This test shows your blood type (A, B, AB, O). Your blood type needs to match or be compatible with the blood type of the donor.

HLA Tissue Typing

HLA reveals a set of antigens. Antigens are inherited from each parent. The HLA typing helps the transplant surgeon to find the best match with a potential donor.

HLA Antibody Testing

This test will show the level of antibodies that have formed against certain antigens. An antibody occurs from being exposed to other tissues or blood. This exposure can come from events such as blood transfusions, delivery of a baby or previous transplants.

If the antibody level is high, it may be more difficult to find a compatible match with a donor, which could extend your time waiting for a transplant. The transplant coordinator will arrange for you to have a sample of blood drawn once a month and sent to the Transplant Center. This is done to monitor the levels of antibodies in your blood and to cross match your blood when a potential donor becomes available. All of these steps improve your chances of having a successful transplant and reduce the risk of possible complications that could arise after surgery.

Waiting for Your Transplant

The amount of time you wait for a transplant varies depending upon the blood type, antibody level, medical condition, number of other patients on the waiting list and the availability of donor organs. Some patients have waited only one day; others have waited months to years. Throughout this process, your transplant team will be there to answer your questions and keep you updated on your wait list status.

See our kidney transplant presentation for more information on the kidney transplant process, as well as our presentation related to the waiting list.

If you have an advanced kidney disease and are on the waiting list for a new organ, we strongly encourage you to ask your friends, family and loved ones to be tested to become a living donor. Start the process either by learning more about living donors, or if press the button below to fill out the living donor form. 

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