What to do when you are booked in for a kidney transplant

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If you are having a kidney transplant from a living donor, the transplant nurse will arrange the date for surgery with you, your family and the donor. You will get a letter confirming all the details once everything is agreed.

What to do while you wait for your transplant surgery

There are certain things that you should do while you are waiting for a transplant from a living donor.

Call your transplant team if:

  • you have a blood transfusion for any reason
  • you are on dialysis and have
    • any central line infections
    • any episodes of peritonitis (an infection of the peritoneum)
  • you have any infections with a fever
  • your medical condition changes in any other way.

Stay as healthy as possible! You must be free of infection at the time of your transplant.

  • Wash your hands often! Don’t share food, drinks or utensils with anyone who might be sick.
  • Visit your dentist every six months to find and treat any possible source of infection, such as tooth cavities.
  • Keep your vaccinations (“shots”) up to date.​

You could also use your waiting time to gather the things you need to bring to the hospital​.

Seven to 10 days before your surgery

You will have some appointments to prepare you for the surgery about seven to 10 days before you are admitted to hospital.

The transplant team will arrange:

  • bloodwork, including cross match, normally about a week before the surgery
  • an appointment with your nephrologist
  • different tests to check your overall health, including chest x-rays, an ECG and an echocardiogram.

Before your surgery, you might also need to have:

  • dialysis
  • a central venous line (CVL) - this may be inserted on the day of surgery or ahead of time if you need to have dialysis before the surgery.

When you are admitted to hospital

Sharing information with your healthcare team

The doctors will have some questions for you when you come into the hospital. Be ready to tell them:

  • the last time you had a blood transfusion
  • the last time you remember being sick, especially with an infection or fever
  • all the medications or drugs you are taking, including those prescribed by your doctor, over-the-counter medications, herbal products and any street drugs
  • whether you are a smoker or you drink coffee every day – this is very important
  • when you last had something to eat or drink.

This information will help your team to plan better for your anaesthetic (sleep medicine for your surgery), recovery and pain control.


When you finish speaking with the doctors you will then have a bath with a special antiseptic soap.

Medications before your transplant

Before your surgery, you will have an IV (intravenous) line placed in either your arm or the back of your hand or in your central venous line (CVL), if you already have one. Your nurse will use the IV to give you medication and fluid. These medications include an antibiotic (to prevent infection) and immunosuppressant medication to help prevent your body from rejecting your new kidney.

Your transplant team will tell you and your family exactly what will happen so that you are well prepared for surgery.

Last updated: November 30th 2017