Question

Kidney Donation

How long do I have to wait for a donor kidney?

A Answers (2)

  • APenn Medicine answered

    Once people are approved for a kidney transplant by the transplant team and have financial clearance, they are placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list. UNOS is the agency authorized by the federal government to maintain the database for all transplant recipients in the United States.

    The length of time people wait before receiving an organ varies greatly. Waiting time depends on several factors, including tissue and blood types, as well as organ availability. The average waiting time for a kidney transplant in this region is two to six years.

  • The length of time that patients must wait for a kidney transplant varies greatly. If a patient has a friend or family member who wishes to donate a kidney, the time to transplantation may be a matter of just weeks or months. If no living donor is available and the patient remains on the wait list for a deceased-donor organ, the wait may be several years.

    Regardless of the time to transplantation or the donor source, candidates for transplantation must maintain close communication and regular checkups with the transplant team. It is important to remain as healthy and strong as possible, so that when the donor organ becomes available, the patient will be in the best possible physical condition to undergo surgery. Good health not only makes it more likely that transplant surgery can proceed, but it helps patients recover better and faster after the surgery. Patients should keep the transplant team's phone numbers accessible at all times, and should contact the team if any new or significant health issues develop. Each patient is assigned to a Transplant Coordinator who will be their primary contact while waiting for their kidney transplant.
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