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What happens during a kidney transplant evaluation?

Before people become kidney transplant candidates, the transplant team performs an extensive evaluation of their kidney disease and general health to determine if transplant is the right option.
During the evaluation visit, potential transplant recipients and their families meet with members of the transplant team and receive detailed information about transplant preparation, health management during the waiting period, anti-rejection medications and an overview of the transplant process. People see a transplant nephrologist - a doctor who specializes in kidney diseases - and sometimes a transplant surgeon to discuss their medical history, receive a physical examination and to describe the different types of kidneys that are available for transplantation.

People are encouraged to consider living-donor transplantation, since it offers the best chance of success and survival.

In addition, potential transplant recipients meet with a financial coordinator to ensure they have adequate insurance coverage for the procedure and medications. Other members of the kidney transplant team including the social worker and nutritionist may meet with potential recipients and their families as well.

Tests and procedures performed during the evaluation include:
  • Blood tests
  • Tissue-typing tests, performed as part of the blood tests
  • General lab screening for evidence of hepatitis or other viral disease
  • Prostate specific antigen (PSA) for men over the age of 50
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) if not recently performed elsewhere
  • Chest x-ray if not recently performed elsewhere
  • Depending on age and gender, additional tests may be required.
The kidney transplant team will then meet to determine whether kidney transplant is the best treatment option for each person evaluated. A member of the transplant team then contacts the person with the results of this discussion. If the kidney transplant team decides that transplant is the best option and potential transplant recipient agrees, they are "listed for transplant."

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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.