Still have questions?

How do family and friends know when it is time to consider donation?

When a patient loses 90 to 95 percent of his or her kidney function, they are considered to have End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). At this point, life-saving treatment becomes necessary. Treatment options for patients with ESRD are dialysis (where an artificial kidney machine removes waste from the blood) or a kidney transplant from a living or deceased donor.

Is there an age limit?

Each patient is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but it is uncommon to offer transplantation to patients who are older than 75 years of age.Each patient is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but it is uncommon to offer transplantation to patients who are older than 75 years of age.

Is there a weight restriction?

Each patient is evaluated on a case-by-case basis, but generally we require a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or less.

Do you transplant children?

Yes, we have a pediatric transplant program.

What is transplantation?

Transplantation is the surgical removal of a healthy organ from one person for placement into another person to replace a sick or injured organ.

Organs that can be transplanted include:

  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Pancreas
  • Heart
  • Lung
  • Intestine
Why is transplantation necessary?

Transplantation is necessary when illness or injury leads to organ failure.

Who can be a donor?

Donors need to be between the ages of 18 and early 70s and can include parents, children, siblings, other relatives, and friends. An ideal donor should have a genuine interest in donating and a compatible blood type with the recipient Donors should be in good general health.
Donors do not need to be genetically related. Typically, someone who has cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, sickle cell disease, HIV or hepatitis will not qualify to be a donor. However, these diseases are not all absolute contraindications to donation. Every donor will be considered on an individual basis.

Do some donors have trouble making the decision to donate?

The decision to donate can vary from person to person. Some people make the decision instantly with few worries or concerns. Other people require time to think critically and will talk with close friends or family before deciding whether or not to donate. It is normal for some people to be afraid of donating a kidney as well as to experience guilt about not wanting to be a donor.
Individuals should not, under any circumstances, feel pressured to donate. The only "right" decision is the one that makes the donor feel comfortable. Potential donors are encouraged to speak with the living donor team if they have any questions or concerns about their decision.

What are the health risks associated with being a donor?

Your surgeon and nurse coordinator will discuss all health risks with you. The risks of donation are similar to those involved with any major surgery, such as bleeding and infection. Death resulting from kidney donation is extremely rare. Current research indicates that kidney donation does not change life expectancy or increase a person?s risks of developing kidney disease or other health problems.

Will giving a kidney affect my lifestyle?

A person can lead an active, normal life with only one kidney. Studies have shown that one kidney is sufficient to keep the body healthy. After recovering from surgery, a donor can work, drive, exercise and participate in sports, though contact sports are not recommended. A donor can continue in all types of occupations. Also, being a donor does not impact a person?s ability to have a child.

Is the surgeon I see during my evaluation the same one who will be doing my surgery?

Yes Dr. Guleria and his team will operate on you.

How do I prepare for surgery?

Smokers must stop smoking at least one month prior to surgery, all medications and supplements must be reviewed by the transplant team to determine if they need to be held prior to surgery. Women taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy are advised to stop taking these medications one month prior to surgery.A few days before the transplant, both you and your recipient will come to the hospital for pre-admission testing. You will meet with an anesthesiologist and a nurse practitioner in the hospital's PREP Center. You will be provided with specific instructions on how to prepare the night before surgery, such as not eating or drinking anything after midnight. The same day, you will have more lab work completed and will also meet with your nurse coordinator and social worker to review what to expect during your stay in the hospital and at discharge. You will also meet with the social worker earlier in the evaluation process who will help you to consider and prepare for emotional aspects of the donation experience.

What happens after the surgery?

You will wake up in the recovery room feeling groggy and perhaps uncomfortable. A nurse closely monitors your vital signs and comfort level. Pain medicine will be given as requested. You will be wearing an oxygen mask and have a catheter draining urine from the bladder to a collecting bag in order to accurately measure the kidney's urine output. The catheter is usually left in overnight and removed at the bedside the next morning.
You are encouraged to get out of bed as soon as possible - usually the night of surgery. Walking is expected the next day. It is common for donors to experience gas pain and bloating after surgery. Walking will help to expel the gas.
You should be released from the hospital 1-2 days following the operation.

What should I expect during recovery at home?

When you return home, your activities will be limited. You should not lift anything that weighs more than 20 lbs for the first four weeks. You may feel tired for the first week or two after the surgery and may need frequent naps. However, donors are encouraged to be active in between their periods of rest. Walking is considered excellent exercise during this time. You may also have some swelling around the incision area and should plan to wear loose, comfortable clothes.You will likely be able to return to work 2-3 weeks after the surgery, depending on the type of work. However some donors require a longer recovery period if their work requires heavy lifting or other physical demands.

What kind of follow-up is needed?

You will have a post-operative appointment with your surgeon 1-2 weeks after the surgery. Additional follow-up appointments will be scheduled 6 months, 1 year and 2 years after your donation. This will allow our team to monitor your kidney function. After your 2 year follow-up with the transplant center, we recommend annual check ups.

Who pays for the medical costs?

Living donors are financially responsible for their routine annual health maintenance testing (e.g., pap smear, mammogram, colonoscopy, etc.) or medical clearance that may be required for pre-existing conditions. However, all other testing required for the living donor evaluation as well as the hospitalization costs and physician services provided during the donation process are covered either by recipient's or by insurance company. Donors will be provided with a special billing form that they will need to present during their testing and hospitalization, rather than their private health insurance information. Transplant-related complications are covered for at least 90 days.