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Kidney Transplant Services at UPMC in South Central Pa

At UPMC Pinnacle we are proud of our transplant patient outcomes. Our team works closely with patients, living donors and their families, throughout the entire transplant process, including care for years after transplant.

Who is Eligible for a Kidney Transplant?

Candidates for kidney transplantation are individuals with advanced kidney disease related to a number of illnesses, including diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney inflammation, polycystic kidneys, and other conditions. Patients may be considered for transplant if they have an estimated kidney function less than 20 percent, or if they are on dialysis.

Referral for Kidney Transplantation

When you are referred to UPMC Pinnacle for a transplant evaluation, you will be scheduled for two appointments. You will also receive a new patient packet to complete and bring with you to the first appointment.

  • Transplant Education Class — This will be your first appointment in our office. This is a group education class where you will meet with one of our transplant coordinators who will explain the entire transplant process. This class will take about 90 minutes.
  • Evaluation appointment — At this appointment you will meet with a physician, nurse coordinator, social worker and financial coordinator. We will review your medical care, social support system and insurance coverage for transplantation. You will also have blood drawn at this appointment.
  • Testing process — In order to determine if kidney transplantation is a good treatment option for your kidney disease, you will need to undergo several tests. These tests will be determined by our team based on your individual medical conditions.
  • Transplant Selection Committee — The Selection Committee consists of all members of the transplant team. They review all evaluation reports and testing to determine if transplant is the best option for you. Placement on the Transplant list—Once approved by the Selection Committee, you will be placed on the National Transplant List

Download the Pre-Transplant Patient Guide (PDF)

Download the Pre-operation Instructions for Kidney Transplant (PDF)

Wait Time for Deceased Donor Kidney Transplant

The wait time for deceased donor kidney transplant in our region is four to six years. The call for the transplant can come any time of day or night. In most cases, the patient needs to be ready to leave home in two to three hours. The surgery typically takes three hours and the patient is usually in the hospital for five days, depending upon the recovery process. While recovering in the hospital, the patient will receive education about new medications, self-care, and follow-up.

Living Kidney Donor Transplant

At UPMC Pinnacle we specialize in living donor transplant. This type of transplant occurs when a living person volunteers to donate one of their kidneys to another person in need. Any person that is in good health can be evaluated as a potential living donor. Living donor transplantation has several advantages including reduced waiting time, longer organ life, and convenience for the transplant recipient.

Download The Living Donor Education Manual (PDF)

Follow-Up Care

Transplantation is a lifelong commitment to follow-up care. The first year will require frequent lab testing and clinic visits. Initially, lab testing will be two times a week and will eventually decrease to every three months. Generally, the patient returns to clinic every week for the first four weeks and then less frequently after that. After the first year, frequency of clinic and laboratory visits decreases significantly, but will remain a lifetime commitment.

Remember that you will need to take special medicines, called immunosuppressive or anti-rejection medications, following your transplant surgery to help prevent your body from rejecting your newly transplanted organs. It is necessary to take these medications exactly as the doctor prescribes for the rest of your life.

The transplant team provides lifelong assessment and support with the hope that, after transplant, the patient can return to a normal, active and healthy life.

Download the Post-Transplant Patient Guide (PDF)

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Need more information? Call 877-778-6110

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