Which patients are assessed for a kidney transplant?

Most patients who have irreversible kidney failure can be considered for a transplant. They must be in relatively good health and willing to undergo assessment.

A member of the transplant team considers all patients who start dialysis for assessment. Some patients may have too many other major medical problems, for example: severe heart and blood vessel disease. Having a transplant may pose increased problems and dialysis may be a better long term treatment option.

Some patients may choose not to be assessed; others may be found to be surgically unsuitable. Before routine tests are performed, medical investigations are needed to make sure that the patient is fit to have a transplant. These will include:

  • A physical examination

  • Blood tests

  • X-rays of the heart, lungs and sometimes stomach and bladder

  • Patients over 40 years of age and patients with diabetes may have further extensive heart tests.

All patients have:

  • Transplant education – written, video/DVD and lecture.

  • A dental assessment

  • "wellness check" - cervical smear and or mammogram for women - prostate assessment for men

  • Blood tests for blood typing, tissue typing and serology (virus identification)

  • Surgical assessment

All patients are advised that living donor transplants are performed at Christchurch Hospital and that both related and unrelated people may be potential donors. The assessment of a potential recipient for a living donor transplant can be started before dialysis treatment begins.

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Page last reviewed: 05 September 2013