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Living Kidney Donation

Potential tests for kidney donors


Some tests check your general health, others show how well your kidneys are working. Tests that may be included are:

General health tests

Blood tests

Your blood is tested for viruses or diseases that could be passed on to the recipient from your kidney transplant. You’ll go to a lab to get these tests done:

Mantoux Test

You may be able to get your Mantoux test done at your local public health centre. This is a skin test to see if you’ve ever been exposed to Tuberculosis (TB). A small amount of liquid (0.1 ml) is injected under the skin on your arm. You’ll need to have the injection site checked 2 to 3 days later to get the results. In some cases, this can also be a blood test. If so, you’d go to a lab to have this done.

FIT Stool Test (Fecal Immunochemical Test)

If you’re over age 50 years, you’ll have this screening test for bowel cancer. Anyone with a family history may be asked to have a Fecal Immunochemical (FIT) Test even if they’re not age 50 years.

Urine test

Your urine is tested for infection, protein, and blood. A urine test is done at least twice over the time of the donor evaluation.

24-hour urine test

For this test you’ll collect all your urine over 24 hours. The lab will give you a container to collect it in. If you miss some, you’ll have to start over.

When you return the container to the lab, they’ll do a blood test. The dissolved minerals in your urine are compared to those in your blood. The results of the test show how well your kidneys are working.

Diagnostic imaging

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An ECG​ records the electrical activity of your heart. The electrical activity in your heart is what keeps it pumping blood to and from your body. This test may be done in a lab or clinic and only takes a few minutes. You may be asked to have specialized heart tests or see a heart specialist (cardiologist).

Donors over age 50 years often need to see a heart specialist to make sure your heart is healthy for surgery.

Computerized tomography (CT) scan A CT scan helps to show your blood vessels and size of your kidneys. This information is used to help decide which kidney to use for donation. A contrast media (dye) is put into a vein in your arm through an intravenous (IV) line. The dye will travel through your blood to your kidneys. A clear picture of the blood flow to and from your kidneys can be seen. This scan could take up to 2 hours to complete.
Renal scan (Nuclear scan) A renal (kidney) scan gives a clearer image of the blood flow in your kidneys and how well each kidney is working. You’ll have a contrast media (dye) injected into a vein in your arm through an intravenous (IV) line. The dye travels through the blood to the kidneys. Then images of the kidneys are taken to show how well your kidneys remove the dye from your blood. The test can take up to 4 hours.
Ultrasound An ultrasound test uses high frequency sound waves to get living images from inside your body. ​​​​

Other tests

Pregnancy Test If you have a uterus and are of childbearing age, you’ll need a pregnancy test before surgery. Surgery won’t be done if a donor is pregnant.
Mammogram If you have breasts and are over age 45 years you’ll be asked if you’ve had a mammogram in the last 2 years. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you may be asked to get a mammogram before the donation surgery.
Pap Test If you have a cervix, you’ll need a Pap test according to current screening guidelines.
Prostate Screening Test (PSA) If you have a prostate and are over age 50 years, you’ll need to have had a PSA test done in the last 2 years. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you may be asked to have a PSA test even if not over age 50 years.

Other tests and imaging may be needed depending on your health and what the results of regular testing show.

You may also be asked to get more specific blood tests for viruses and other infections if you:

  • were born or lived outside of Canada
  • travelled to certain countries
  • have had some types of high-risk jobs​


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