How do I get on the Kidney Transplant List?

Article Details
  • Written By: M.R. Anglin
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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Many people may experience a failed kidney. Among other treatment options, a kidney transplant may be necessary for a person to live a more normal life. If there is not a live donor available, the patient may need to be added onto the kidney transplant list to await an available kidney. In order to get on the kidney transplant list, a patient may have to be evaluated by a transplant hospital. Once the appropriate tests are complete and it has been established that a person is eligible for a transplant, the hospital may add him to the list.

When placed on the kidney transplant list, a patient is often registered with the agency that maintains the list in his area. The list includes other patients who also need a kidney transplant. When a kidney becomes available, the appropriate organization will usually try and match the kidney to the best candidate. The best candidate is not always the person who has been waiting the longest, so wait times may vary. How a person is matched depends on many factors that can vary from region to region, and may include things like blood type and the general health of the patient.


The process of being added to the kidney transplant list may begin with the patient’s doctor. Once he determines that the patient’s kidney is failing, he may conduct initial testing to see if the patient is an eligible candidate for the operation. Certain health conditions may make it impossible or dangerous for a patient to receive a transplant. If the doctor determines the patient is a good candidate, he can refer him to a transplant hospital. It is the hospital that often adds a person’s name to the list.

Before a person can be added to the kidney transplant list, he may be further evaluated by the transplant hospital. Tests can range from X-rays to blood tests and have the purpose of determining whether the patient is suitable for the transplant. If there are no underlying issues that would make transplantation a problem, the hospital may add the patient to the list.

The time a person spends on the kidney transplant list depends on how long it takes to find him the best match. This wait may last be days, months, or even several years. For those patients who have a relative or friend willing to give up a kidney, a wait on the list may not necessary. If it is found that there is a match between the potential donor and the patient, the surgeons may operate on the two at the same time and transfer a kidney from the donor directly to the recipient. Tests, counseling, and a review from the appropriate government agency may be necessary to ensure that the donor is not being forced and is willing and able, both physically and psychologically, to give up the kidney.



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