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Before Your Kidney or Pancreas Transplant

Early referral for a kidney or pancreas pretransplant evaluation is very important.

This allows the UPMC kidney and pancreas transplant team to:

  • Provide comprehensive assessments for your transplant.
  • Identify any potential issues and avoid possible complications.
  • Determine your best course of treatment.

Your pretransplant evaluation will take place, at the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute at UPMC Montefiore. You will not be admitted as an inpatient for evaluation – instead you will be coming in for appointments.

In most cases, you or your referring doctor can schedule your evaluation within 72 hours of insurance approval.

What to Expect During Your Pretransplant Evaluation

Your kidney transplant evaluation will last three to five days. You will need to bring a caregiver or support person with you to each appointment.

If you don't live near Pittsburgh, Family House offers affordable lodging for transplant patients and their loved ones.

During your evaluation, the transplant team will conduct tests and blood work to make sure kidney transplant is right for you.

When you arrive at UPMC, your kidney transplant coordinator will:

  • Give you an informational packet with details about the kidney transplant process and what you should expect before, during, and after your transplant. You will need to keep this with you during your visit.
  • Explain your kidney transplant evaluation schedule.
  • Let you know where your tests and consults will take place.

While you're here, you will meet with members of the transplant team, including your:

  • Nephrologist (kidney physician) who will examine you and review your history to assess your kidney disease. He or she may also go over other treatment options for managing your kidney disease without a transplant, if they exist.
  • Kidney transplant surgeon, who will assess your physical condition and look over your health records to make sure a kidney transplant is the best option for you.
  • Nutritionist, who will discuss your current diet. He or she may also suggest certain nutritional programs that can help with your kidney disease.
  • Social worker, who will talk with you about the social aspects of the kidney transplant process. He or she may ask you about your support system and prescription coverage.
  • Transplant pharmacist, who will need a list of all of the drugs you take and how you take them. This includes prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as supplements.
  • Credit analyst, who will review your insurance coverage and explain any parts of the kidney transplant process that it doesn't cover. He or she may suggest other options to help cover any out-of-pocket costs.
  • Kidney transplant coordinator, will introduce you to the transplant process and review your evaluation schedule. The visit will consist of preliminary health screening, medicine review, and an overview of the transplant process.
  • Living donor coordinator, will answer any questions you may have about living donation.

Tests during your kidney transplant evaluation

During your visit, your kidney doctor may schedule you for medical tests or consults with other experts.

Your kidney transplant coordinator will provide you with a list of these tests and any special instructions about:

  • Eating or drinking before testing.
  • Avoiding caffeine.
  • Taking your normal medications.
  • The types of clothes or shoes you should wear to your test.

You will also receive details about what to expect from kidney transplant surgery, including recovery and ways to help you return to daily living.

You'll have the chance to ask questions at any time during your kidney transplant evaluation.

You will want to come away from your visit with knowledge of your kidney transplant risks and benefits.

You and your caregiver should also realize the commitment it takes to see the process through to its end.

After Your Kidney Transplant Evaluation at UPMC

After your visit, your kidney transplant coordinator may call if you need to return to UPMC for more tests.

In most cases, it takes about three weeks to get your results from your kidney transplant evaluation.

As soon as they're ready, your coordinator will call to discuss the results and let you know if you're eligible for the kidney transplant waiting list.

Resources for You and Your Family

We understand that a transplant can be a stressful time for patients and families, especially for those who have to travel for their care.

Find resources to help you and your caregivers through the transplant process.