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Evaluation of the Living Donor Candidate

Living Donor Evaluation includes:

  1. A person interested in being a donor contacts the transplant center which is evaluating the candidate to:
    • Get more information without making any commitment to be a donor at this time, or
    • To initiate the evaluation for donor candidacy.
    • Once the candidate is ready for the next step, a screening phone call of your health history will be done to be sure you do not have any conditions that will automatically rule you out.
  2. Potential donors that are able to proceed will be scheduled for a blood test to determine their blood type and for tissue typing. If more than one potential donor is having their blood tested, then each donor is individually assessed and a multiple factors are considered to determine which donor should proceed with the evaluation. If the first donor is determined to be ineligible to donate then the next best candidate can continue with the evaluation.
    NOTE: Test results are confidential and will not be shared with the transplant candidate or anyone else without the donor's permission.
  3. The best or only candidate will then be scheduled for an appointment to meet with the transplant coordinator and transplant surgeon. The transplant coordinator will review in detail the medical evaluation involved, including all exams, tests, and lab work required. The transplant coordinator will collect an in-depth health history and discuss the donor surgery, called a nephrectomy, and possible risks and complications thereof.
  4. Each living donor candidate is assigned an independent living donor advocate. This advocate will:
    • Meet with the donor alone
    • Complete a social history
    • Assess the donor's motivation and coping skills
    • Assess the donor's mental status and competence to make the decision about donation
    • Determine how much information the candidate already has about living donation
    • Look at the past and present relationship between donor and recipient, and family dynamics and issues
    • Address the potential impact on the lifestyle as a donor and any financial hardships it might impose
    • Sometimes require an interview with the candidate's spouse or other family members
    • Be available to discuss any concerns or questions the living donor candidate may have regarding living donation.
  5. The donor candidate meets with a transplant surgeon who will discuss the donor evaluation process. The transplant surgeon will perform a complete history and physical examination to determine eligibility to proceed in the living donor evaluation.
  6. If found to be a good candidate for living donation additional outpatient procedures and tests will be scheduled, including:
    • Additional physical examinations by physicians
    • X-rays and tests to evaluate the heart and kidneys
    • Blood and urine lab work
    The basic tests are completed first to identify anything which might rule a candidate out as a donor. These tests help determine any additional risks and ensure that there are no physical conditions which could be a problem during surgery.
  7. If the tests do not turn up any problems, the candidate will be seen and examined by the surgeon (urologist) who will remove the kidney. The surgeon will review the types of donor surgery available, risks and problems associated with each, and make a recommendation on the appropriate type of surgery.
  8. Once the evaluation is completed, the donor candidate and the recipient candidate will help coordinate schedules and a date for the actual transplant will be set.
  9. Finally, there will be a blood test called the "final cross-match"� made prior to surgery. This is to ensure that no new risks have developed since the last testing was done. Also, you will review and sign the informed consent forms and admission paperwork. You will then be sent home to make your final preparations prior to surgery.