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Recipient: Transplant Process

Referral

After your nephrologist or dialysis center refers you for transplant, an administrative professional will contact you by phone and mail you a New Patient Packet.  In order to determine your insurance coverage and evaluate your medical status, we must first gather basic information about you.  You will be asked to complete all forms enclosed in the packet and return to the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant office.

Financial Clearance

The Georgia Regents Medical Center Financial Coordinator will contact your insurance company and determine coverage for surgery and for post-transplant medications.  A medication plan is necessary prior to your being considered for a transplant evaluation.  For additional information, please see the Financial Planning page.

Evaluation

After financial clearance is complete, you will be contacted to schedule Georgia Regents Medical Center Transplant Orientation class.  This orientation class will educate you on the transplant process, matching criteria, success rates, medications, and financial issues.  You will also meet with a transplant coordinator, who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.  Educational materials will be provided during class; they can also be obtained by clicking here.

During class you will have the opportunity to schedule your pre-transplant evaluation at the Medical Center.  If you are unable to schedule evaluation during class, a transplant administrative assistant will contact you to assist with scheduling your pre-transplant evaluation.

Your one-day outpatient evaluation will include the following:

  • Blood tests and tissue typing
  • Chest and abdominal x-ray, EKG
  • Complete medical history & physical with transplant physician assistant
  • Consultation with transplant social worker and transplant surgeon

After the transplant evaluation visit, the transplant team will review your test results and determine if you are a suitable candidate for transplant.  We will notify you and your current nephrologist of the result in writing. 

If suitable, you will be assigned to a recipient transplant coordinator.  The transplant coordinator will ensure you complete any additional testing and review results with the transplant surgeon.  Additionally, the living donor coordinator will begin evaluating any potential donors you may have.

Upon approval, you will be actively placed on the UNOS waiting list for a deceased donor transplant or be prepared for living donor transplant.

Listing on the National Wait List

If you do not have any potential living donors you will be placed on the national deceased donor waiting list maintained by UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing).  When you are listed, a letter of activation will be sent to your home, dialysis center, and current nephrologist.

Depending on your blood type, tissue typing, antibody (PRA) levels, and donor availability, Georgia Regents Medical Center transplant patients generally wait two to five years for a kidney.  

When a deceased donor kidney or kidney/pancreas, becomes available, the on-call transplant coordinator will have one hour to contact you and then accept the organ.  Coordinators are almost always successful in finding you in this time.  It is important to keep your transplant coordinator informed of any changes in your contact information, health status, or a reduction in funds saved for transplant. 

Additionally, UNOS provides a toll-free patient services line to help transplant candidates, recipients, and family members understand organ allocation practices and transplantation data.  You may call this number to discuss a problem you may be experiencing with your transplant center or the transplantation system in general.  The toll-free patient services line number is 1-888-894-6361.

Transplant

Living Donor Transplant

After you and your living donor have been cleared for transplant, the transplant surgery event will be scheduled at a time convenient to you and the donor. 

  • The morning of surgery, you will be admitted and prepped for surgery.
  • Your surgery will last approximately 4-5 hours, followed by 1 -2 hours in the recovery room.
  • You will return directly to the fourth floor inpatient unit (4 South) where an experienced nurse will care for you.  Most patients do not have to stay in the Intensive Care Unit after transplant surgery.

Deceased Donor Transplant

  • You will be admitted to the fourth floor inpatient unit (4-South), upon arriving at Georgia Regents Medical Center.
  • Blood will be drawn for a crossmatch and other preoperative tests.
  • An EKG, X-rays, and physical exam will be performed.
  • If the crossmatch is compatible and all testing is approved by the surgeon, you will go to the operating room.
  • Your surgery will last approximately 4-5 hours, followed by 1-2 hours in the recovery room.
  • You will return directly to 4-South where an experienced nurse will care for you.  Most patients do not have to stay in the Intensive Care Unit after transplant surgery.

Post-Transplant

During Your Hospitalization

You can expect to stay in the hospital for four to fourteen days, depending on your condition.  Some kidneys start producing urine and cleaning the blood immediately, others take several days or weeks before they begin to function.  Living donor kidney transplants usually work sooner than deceased donor transplants.  Dialysis may be necessary until your kidney begins to function.

After Discharge

You will be followed closely in the post-transplant nephrology clinic.  It is important that you have frequent clinic visits after hospital discharge.

  • Kidney function will be monitored
  • Medication side effects will be observed

Estimated Clinic Schedule

  • Week 1 In hospital
  • Weeks 2,3, & 4 2 visits per week
  • Weeks 5,6, & 7 1 visit per week
  • After 8 weeks  Visit frequency will be determined by your condition
  • After three months you can be followed by your local nephrologist.