Living Donor Evaluation Process
The evaluation to be considered as a potential kidney donor is very thorough and includes interviews and examinations with several specialists.
- A Living Donor Coordinator will be the donors primary contact person. The coordinator conducts the initial screening and provides education about the donation process.
- A Nephrologist is the physician responsible for a medical evaluation to ensure a donor is medically suitable to donate. The nephrologist ensures that a donor does not have medical problems that could make donation dangerous for them or the recipient.
- A Living Donor Surgeon will discuss the possible risks and complications of a donation and will examine a donor to determine if they are a good candidate for kidney donation.
- A Social Worker will meet with a donor to discuss the financial and social implications of donating a kidney. The social worker will identify a social support network and evaluate a donor’s ability to cope with the stress of donation. The social worker will also discuss the potential impact the donation may have on a donor’s health and ability to qualify for health and life insurance.
- A Transplant Pharmacist will review a current list of medications and identify any potential hazards associated with drug interactions and make appropriate recommendations to minimize the effects or avoid them entirely.
- A Psychiatrist will conduct an evaluation and assessment of a donor’s psychosocial history and the relationship between the donor and the intended recipient.
- A Dietitian will perform a nutritional assessment and provide education. If a donor needs to lose weight prior to donation, the dietitian can assist with developing an appropriate diet for the donor and help them along the way and provide support.
- Some potential donors may be referred to other services for consultation. For example, a Pulmonologist (lung doctor) or a Cardiologist (heart doctor) might be asked to assess for other medical conditions.
- In addition, an Independent Living Donor Advocate (ILDA) is available to a donor. An ILDA is professional at the hospital who is not part of the Transplant Team but is always available to answer questions or address any concerns a donor may have associated with the transplant process and provide support. This person is an advocate for the donor and purposefully works outside the Transplant Team to ensure that there is no bias during a donor candidate evaluation.
Many tests are done to determine if someone can safely be a kidney donor and further tests may be required based on the results of these tests and a donor’s medical and psychosocial evaluation.
Blood tests are done to determine a donor’s blood type and matching with the recipient. Blood counts and chemistries will be checked and testing for the presence of current or previous infections, including HIV, hepatitis and other infections, will be performed.
Other tests include a Chest X-ray, Electrocardiogram (EKG), urine tests and a Computed Tomography (CT) Scan to identify the anatomy of a donors kidneys. Pulmonary Function Tests may be required, especially if a donor has a history of smoking or lung disease.
Once an evaluation has been completed, our Living Donor Selection Committee completes a comprehensive review. If approved for donation by the Committee, a donor will be notified.
Each living donor’s evaluation is unique. How quickly the process proceeds depends on many factors. Our team is committed to working within a donor’s schedule and try to be as accommodating as possible. We appreciate how valuable a donor’s time is and what a generous gift is being offered.
A donor may stop the evaluation process at any time. Donation is a very important decision each individual must make and one which will be respected without judgment.