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Transplant Program

Kidney Transplant Waiting List

In order to be matched to a kidney donor, you must be placed on the national kidney transplant waiting list. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) manages the kidney transplant waiting list and works with transplant centers across the country to identify and match kidney donors to recipients. As your partner, Temple’s transplant team will work to place you on the list once you meet the criteria for a kidney transplant and complete a successful evaluation.

Temple’s Kidney Transplant Program offers shorter kidney transplant wait times than the national rate, with survival rates that exceed the national average of 98.11% for living donor kidney transplant and 94.88% for deceased donor kidney transplant. This is possible due in part to our Living Kidney Donor Program, which significantly decreases the wait time for a kidney transplant, and supports the best outcomes for patients in need of a kidney transplant.

We take every possible step to help ensure you’re ready when a potential kidney donor becomes available. With the close relationship between our transplant team, our patients on the waiting list, our living donors and our UNOS partners, we work to uncover every opportunity to match you with the right donor. And once you’re matched, our experience in providing excellent pre- and post-transplant care helps give you the best chance of long-term survival after your transplant.

What Are Temple’s Criteria for Kidney Transplant?

Temple prides itself on accepting potential kidney transplant candidates who may have been turned down by other centers. In order to be eligible for a kidney transplant, you must first meet certain criteria, including:

How to Get on the Waiting List

If you meet the kidney transplant criteria, our transplant team will evaluate you with a number of consultations and tests to see if you’re a candidate for surgery. These may include:

  • Blood tests to determine your blood type. Your blood type must be compatible with your kidney donor's blood type.
  • Tissue typing, to help the transplant team find the right match for you.
  • Crossmatching, which determines the number of antibodies you have. If you have a high number of antibodies, this is an indication that your body may reject a new organ.
  • Chest X-ray to see if your lungs are healthy and free of disease.
  • Echocardiogram, EGK and stress test to determine if your heart is strong enough to support you through surgery.
  • Cancer screening, including colonoscopy, skin cancer screening, prostate screening, pelvic exam and mammogram for women.
  • Dental exam, to see if you're free of any concerning gum or dental disease.
  • Psychological exam to screen for any signs of emotional or mental concerns that may prevent you from a healthy recovery.

Once your evaluation is complete, the Temple transplant team will meet to review your results. Your transplant coordinator will then contact you to let you know if Temple recommends you for a kidney transplant.

  • If you qualify for a kidney transplant: the transplant team will work with UNOS to place you on the national waiting list.
  • If you do not qualify for a kidney transplant: we will work with you to explore other treatment options

How Will I Be Notified About an Available Kidney?

When UNOS matches you with a potential donor, you will receive a phone call from your Temple transplant coordinator. A kidney from a deceased donor has to be transplanted immediately, so you will need to come to the hospital as soon as possible.

If you’re traveling a distance, be sure to have everything prepared ahead of time. This may include:

  • Important paperwork, including your insurance cards
  • Relevant contact information
  • Your current medications
  • Packed suitcase

You will also want to identify a relative or loved one who is at the ready to drive you to the hospital.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a “perfect match” kidney?

During your kidney transplant evaluation, you’ll have a series of blood tests, including tissue typing. The closer a donor’s tissue type matches yours, the more likely you are to be a match. If your tissue proteins are the same as your donor’s, this is considered a “perfect match.” Most perfect match kidneys come from a relative, such as a brother or sister.

Who donates kidneys for transplantation?

You can receive a donor kidney from someone who has just died, or from someone who is alive. You may receive a kidney from a deceased donor if you’re listed on the kidney transplant waiting list. A kidney from a living donor may come from a relative, a friend, or someone you do not know.

If you know someone who is willing to become a living kidney donor, you may decrease your wait time for a kidney transplant significantly. All donors are screened to give the recipient the greatest likelihood of survival after transplant.

What happens to the old kidney after transplantation?

If possible, the damaged kidney remains in place. During your evaluation, your transplant team will decide if it’s better to leave your kidneys in place or remove them. Your damaged kidneys may be removed if you’ve had repeated infections, uncontrolled high blood pressure, or urine back-up into your kidneys.

What is the success rate of kidney transplants?

Both deceased donor kidney transplant and living donor kidney transplant have high success rates. The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) reports 1-year survival rates of 98.11% for living donor kidneys and 94.88% for deceased donor kidneys in the US. Temple’s Kidney Transplant Program consistently meets or exceeds the national rate.

Ready for an Appointment?

Find a doctor near you, request an appointment, or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Page medically reviewed by:
Antonio Di Carlo, MD, CM, FACS, FRCSC
December 02, 2021