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The Kidney Transplant Waitlist- What you Need to Know

For a majority of patients with kidney failure, transplantation is undoubtedly the best option. Although a kidney transplant is not a cure for kidney disease, it can help you live longer and with a higher quality of life. Kidney transplants can be from either living or deceased organ donors. A live donor kidney transplant is the best option for people with kidney disease. However, transplantation is not for everyone. Therefore, one should consult with their medical team to see if a transplant is an option.

Understanding the Kidney Transplant Waitlist

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) keeps a track of patients awaiting an organ transplant. Several factors give people priority on the waitlist. These are blood type, urgency, age, kidney failure time, and more. UNOS uses a transparent system to distribute deceased donor organs fairly.

When is the best time to consider having a kidney transplant?

It is best to consider transplantation early in the course of your disease before you need to begin dialysis. This way, you may be able to receive a transplant ‘preemptively,’ without ever having to begin dialysis.

Locating the compatible donor, completing the evaluation process, getting on the list, and exploring liver donor options can all be time-consuming. 

If you are not yet on dialysis and have a GFR of 20 or less, you can start accumulating “wait time” on the deceased donor transplant list.

How to Get Listed in the Kidney Transplant Waiting List

When your doctor refers you to transplant surgery, the listing process begins. If you want to get a transplant, you can visit a transplant centre for evaluation.

Only after passing the required evaluation at a transplant centre that looks at your physical health, mental health, and finances can you be considered ready for a kidney transplant. Once you pass the evaluation test and the transplant team gives you a green signal, they will add your name to the national waiting list.

There are a few factors UNOS considered to decide who gets the available kidney. These factors are:

  • Recipient’s age
  • Donor and recipient blood type
  • Donor kidney size 
  • Urgency of transplant
  • Total waiting time of the patient

Average Waiting Time 

Once your name is on the national organ transplant waiting list, you may be able to get an organ within a few months, or you may have to wait for years. In general, the average waiting time at most centres can be 3-5 years. Even longer in some country’s geographical regions. To better understand the wait times, you should contact your transplant centre.

Multiple Listing

You can list your name in multiple transplant centres, in hospitals in different OPO areas. It increases your chances of receiving a kidney transplant as soon as possible. Because organ donations depend on the region, being listed in multiple hospitals in the same OPO area will not increase your chances of receiving a transplant sooner.

If you can list your name in multiple areas, chances are, you can get to any transplant centre. The exact time depends on the transplant centre. Also, before getting listed, make sure to discuss this with the transplant team.

Typically, you must arrive at the hospital within 24 hours after getting a call from the centre. Make sure you are available for appointments with the transplant team both before and after the kidney transplant in Turkey.

This may necessitate taking long drives or even booking flights at the last minute. As a result, getting listed at multiple hospitals can be costly for many people.

How can You find out where you stand on the transplant waiting list?

Your placement or waiting status will not be confirmed by UNOS. However, your transplant centre must notify you when your name is added to the waiting list. Also, when you should be able to confirm your status with them. If an organ is available for you, your transplant team will contact you and expect you to respond quickly. Each transplant centre has its own set of procedures. You should talk to your team about it to plan when a kidney becomes available. To read more about our health blogs, please visit our website.

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