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What happens before kidney transplant surgery?

During the waiting period before transplantation, patients on the wait list must carry a cell phone so that hospital personnel can immediately reach them when a donor organ becomes available. When a deceased donor organ becomes available, the hospital must respond to the offer very quickly; if a patient is unavailable or unable to have the transplant (due to infection, for instance), then the organ may be offered to the next person on the wait list. A transportation plan should be arranged so that when a donor organ becomes available, the patient has a way to quickly and easily travel to the hospital.

While waiting for surgery, patients should learn what to expect during their recovery, and about the medications they will need to take after surgery.

Before kidney transplant surgery the kidney recipient will likely experience the following:

  • a number of blood tests to check health status and determine tissue compatability status
  • x-rays, electrocardiograms (EKGs) and a number of other diagnostic tests to determine if the person is healthy enough for a kidney transplant
  • a delay in finding a compatable kidney to transplant
  • a lot of counseling as the transplant is only the beginning of a long journey with the doctor and will require diligent adherence to medications for years

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.