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Transplant Recipient Information

Day of Transplant

What happens when it’s time for a transplant from a deceased donor?

If the transplant team finds a kidney match for you from a deceased donor, a doctor from the transplant centre or program will call you. They will tell you when you have to be at transplant unit. Once you get the call:

  • don’t eat or drink anything
  • have a quick shower before you go to the hospital

At the hospital you will:

  • get admitted to the transplant unit
  • meet with the transplant team
  • have tests to check your health, including blood tests, a heart test called an electrocardiogram (ECG), and a chest x-ray

You and the donor kidney will go through many tests before the transplant team will know for sure if they can do the transplant.

In some cases, the transplant may be cancelled if:

  • the transplant surgeon finds a problem with the donor kidney such as disease
  • the donor kidney is not healthy enough for transplant
  • there is a change in your health
  • you test positive for antibodies that will attack the donor kidney (called a positive cross match)

If you are having the transplant, the surgery may not begin right away. There is often a wait time and you may need to have dialysis during this time. The transplant team is there to support you and your family as you wait for surgery.

Back-up recipients​

In some cases you may be called to come to the hospital as a back-up recipient. This means someone else has been chosen to get the donor kidney (be the recipient). But if for some reason they can’t have a transplant, you may get the donor kidney. You may be asked to be a back-up recipient a few times before you get a kidney transplant.

​​​​​​​What happens when you are having a transplant from a living donor?

When you are having a living donor transplant:

  • You will have a preadmission visit up to 4 weeks before the surgery. At this time you will have tests to check your health and meet with the doctor who gives anesthetic to put you to sleep during the surgery (called the anesthesiologist) and your transplant coordinator.
  • You will be admitted to the transplant unit the day before surgery to meet with the transplant team and have more tests to check your health to make sure you’re healthy enough for surgery. This includes blood tests, a heart test called an electrocardiogram (ECG), and a chest x-ray.
  • The anesthesiologist may send you for more tests after they talk with you and review of your medical history.
  • You won’t be able to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of the surgery.

If you are having the transplant, the surgery may not begin right away. There is often a wait time and you may need to have dialysis during this time. The transplant team is there to support you and your family as you wait for surgery.

It’s important to let the transplant team know if there are any changes to your health (such as infections or if you are taking new medicines).

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