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Transplant Recipient Information

Transplant Workup for Recipients

We are proud of our long history of kidney transplantation in our province.

Interesting Fact: NARP’s first living donor transplant was on June 11, 1967. ALTRA’s first living donor transplant was in July 1974.

Before you (the recipient) are considered for a living or deceased donor transplant, you need to have a full evaluation (workup). This means you’ll have tests done to make sure that a kidney transplant is a good treatment option for you.

Having a kidney transplant isn’t right for everyone. A transplant may not be right for you because of health problems you already have or that need treatment before you can have a transplant. It could also happen that health problems you didn’t know about are discovered during the workup.

For example, a person waiting for heart surgery may not be suitable for a kidney transplant right now. But when they recover from surgery and their heart health is good, they can be evaluated to see if kidney transplant is now a good option. Or a person with a history of cancer might wait for a time after cancer treatment, and then have the evaluation (work-up) for kidney transplant.

Health problems that may prevent or delay a kidney transplant are:

  • Cancer that might spread.
  • Serious blood vessel or heart disease.
  • Serious lung or liver disease.
  • Serious urinary tract problems.
  • Bleeding problems.
  • Infections.
  • Obesity (high body mass index e.g. 35–40).
  • Tattoos and makeup tattoos received within the last 6 months.
  • Not following recommended treatment like taking medications, and missing appointments or dialysis.
  • Actively using drugs or excessive alcohol.

Evaluation Steps

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
  • Referral from nephrologist
  • Transplant information session
  • Medical Tests
  • Heart evaluation
  • Dental checkup
  • Cancer screening​
  • Transplant nephrologist and/or nurse practitioner
  • Transplant surgeon assessments
Time frames vary

There are 3 steps in your kidney transplant evaluation.

How long it takes to do the evaluation depends on:

  • Your health and medical problems.
  • The time it takes to get all of the appointments and tests finished.
  • The time it takes to see specialists.

Steps 1 and 2 can usually be finished within 3 months if you don’t need extra tests or a referral to a specialist. The time it takes to finish the whole evaluation can take up to 1 year. It’s long, but it’s very important.

Step 1:

A kidney doctor (nephrologist) refers you to the transplant program and you go first to the transplant information session. The kidney transplant information session covers the material on this website.

Step 2:

You’re screened for cancer with tests such as a Pap smear, FIT test (fecal immunochemical test), mammogram, and prostate test. You also would have other tests like ultrasound, chest x-ray, blood tests for infectious diseases and viruses.

The heart tests depend on if you have any risk factors for heart disease (e.g., diabetes). Having risk factors could make the workup take longer.

Step 3:

After you’ve done all the tests and healthcare visits, you meet with a transplant nephrologist or a nurse practitioner. They may order more tests or appointments with other specialists. When all extra tests are finished and the results are acceptable for transplant, you will see the transplant surgeon for the final evaluation.

When the evaluation is done, you’re either listed on the deceased donor wait list or, if you have an approved living donor, you’re scheduled for kidney transplant surgery. In the ALTRA program your history will be reviewed by the transplant team before you will be put on the deceased donor waitlist.​​​​​​​​​​​​

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