What is a kidney transplant evaluation?

At UChicago Medicine, we follow a detailed evaluation process to determine if you are a candidate for a kidney transplant.

As part of your evaluation, you will meet with several members of our transplant team and have tests to determine if a kidney transplant is right for you. You will also learn more about the kidney transplant process.

If I have kidney failure, at what point should I be evaluated for a transplant?

If you have kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal failure (ESRD), your kidneys can no longer function on their own. Kidney dialysis or kidney transplant will be needed, and our team can help you understand your options.

Why should I be evaluated for a kidney transplant at UChicago Medicine?

Getting evaluated for a kidney transplant at UChicago Medicine is the first step toward regaining control of your life.

Our team can determine whether you are a candidate for living donor transplants, which provide more options for you and last longer, on average, than kidneys from deceased donors.

If you have a living donor that is not compatible, you may be evaluated for paired kidney exchange (PKE) or kidney paired donation (KPD). If you are accepted into these programs, you may wait less time for a transplant and spend less time on dialysis. You may even be able to receive a kidney transplant before you begin dialysis.

See a map of our kidney transplant evaluation locations in Chicagoland

How do I get evaluated for a kidney transplant?

If you would like to be evaluated for a kidney transplant or would like a second opinion, call us directly at 773-702-4500 to get the process started.

You can expect to meet with a member of the transplant team within two weeks. For your convenience, we offer both in-person and virtual appointments whenever possible.

What is involved in a kidney transplant evaluation?

You will meet with several members of our kidney transplant team. These meetings may be virtual or in-person. Members of our transplant team are also multilingual, and we can provide interpreters for most languages. The following are some of the team members you may meet:

  • A nurse coordinator, who will provide education and help you move through the evaluation process.
  • A nephrologist, a physician who specializes in kidney disease and will help determine if you are healthy enough for a transplant.
  • A transplant surgeon, who will discuss the surgery with you and evaluate your health to determine if you are a good transplant candidate.
  • A social worker, who will evaluate your ability to cope with the stress of a transplant and manage your care plan, before and after surgery.
  • A psychiatrist, who may evaluate your mental health and suggest programs for substance abuse, if needed.
  • A dietitian, who will assess your diet and provide education before and after transplant to improve your chances of a successful transplant.
  • A pharmacist, who will work with you and the transplant team to find the best medicines to prevent organ rejection and minimize side effects.
  • A financial coordinator, who will discuss the costs of your transplant and help you understand what your insurance covers and what it does not.
  • An interpreter, who is available to help you communicate with your team.

Your first meeting with our team will be a class taught by a nurse coordinator. In this class, you will learn all about kidney transplant. You can attend this class in-person or virtually. (We also offer transplant education in Spanish.)

The next part of your evaluation includes testing and exams, which require you to meet with the transplant team in person. You will meet with a transplant surgeon, a nephrologist or both. Depending on your age, health history and insurance requirements, you may have meetings with other specialists.

What tests do I need for a kidney transplant?

Some of the tests you will have at UChicago Medicine include:

  • An electrocardiogram, an echocardiogram and a stress test to check your heart health
  • Blood work for organ matching and to screen for viruses and other conditions
  • Chest X-ray to identify any issues with your lungs or heart
  • Cancer screenings based on your age and gender

These tests take time, and you may need additional tests depending on your condition. In most cases, the evaluation process takes a few weeks to just over a month. It is very important that you keep your appointments if you want to be considered for a transplant at UChicago Medicine.

How do I find out if I am a candidate for a kidney transplant?

Our transplant team will meet and discuss your case to decide if you are a candidate for a kidney transplant at UChicago Medicine. You will receive a phone call and a letter from your nurse with the decision.

If you are a candidate, our team will place you on the organ waiting list or work with you to schedule your surgery if a living donor is available. The team will also notify you if they need more information to make a decision.

Can I be evaluated for a kidney transplant at multiple centers?

If you have been told that you are not a candidate for kidney transplant from either a living or deceased donor, we encourage you to seek another opinion here at UChicago Medicine. Our program offers new approaches toward complicated cases that have been declined by other centers, and we can review your case to determine your eligibility. Patients with living donors have a good chance of being accepted for full re-evaluation. You may be able to share records and results from recent tests (no older than six to 12 months) to avoid duplication, although multiple evaluations can be time consuming and lead to out-of-pocket costs.

Candidates who are not suitable for transplant at our center are likewise able to seek out opinions from other centers.

Kidney Transplant Evaluation Locations

Request an Appointment

The information you provide will enable us to assist you as efficiently as possible. A representative will contact you within one to two business days to help you schedule an appointment.

You can also make an appointment with our providers by:

Scheduling a virtual video visit to see a provider from the comfort of your home

Requesting an online second opinion from our specialists 

To speak to someone directly, please call 1-888-824-0200. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.

 

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Kidney Transplant Care