Deceased donor kidney transplant: Tests when you arrive at the hospital

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You already learned that you could be called in for your transplant at any time of the day or night.

Take a look at this animation to find out what to expect right before and after you have your surgery. Because we do not know when a new kidney will become available, you should be prepared to come to the hospital at any time.


Arriving at the hospital

We recommend you pack a bag with the things you will need to bring to the hospital or at least have a list ready. Once you pack your bag, keep it somewhere by your front door so you won’t forget it.

When you arrive at the hospital, go straight to the transplant unit. You will have blood taken right away to see if the donor is a match for you. This is called doing a cross-match.

You will also have a few other tests, including:

  • an electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • a chest x-ray
  • dialysis, if you need it. If you are on peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis, we may need to do a dialysis run before transplant to make sure you are in the best possible shape for the surgery.

You are normally not allowed to eat or drink anything from the time you get the phone call until after you have your transplant.

Am I guaranteed a transplant when I arrive at the hospital?

Sometimes you are called to come to the hospital but will not receive a kidney. We understand that this can be very disappointing.

Sometimes teens do not get a transplant because they are called in as a reserve (back up) for a person who is above them on the wait list. If the kidney is not a match for that person, you would be next in line to get it. However, if it is a match, you would need to wait to be called back to the hospital another day.

Another reason that you may not get a kidney is that tests might show that the available kidney is not the best one for you or that you are not completely ready for a kidney when you are called in.

The transplant team needs to act very quickly when a kidney becomes available. This sometimes does not leave enough time to do a detailed check of the kidney before you are called to go to the hospital. And, of course, the team cannot check if you are ready for a kidney until you arrive at the hospital and complete all the assessment tests. For example if you had a chest infection, you may not be able to go for a transplant.

If you cannot have the transplant, you will go home. The transplant team will wait for the next potential kidney offer for you. It may be discouraging to be admitted to the hospital and then leave without a kidney transplant, but we hope that you will get another call soon.​​​​​

Last updated: November 30th 2017