What else should the living kidney donor know?
The kidney donor evaluation process will be kept confidential. No information will be given to the potential recipient without prior approval of the donor. Donors are strongly encouraged to have individual health insurance. This recommendation is based on the possibility that the donor’s ability to obtain insurance after donation may be more difficult. Donors should be aware that future health problems related to the donation may not be covered. These factors should be thoroughly considered prior to donating.
Finally, donors have the right to stop the donation evaluation process at any point along the way for any reason.
What can the donor expect after surgery?
If the kidney donor has had an open nephrectomy, the donor will have a larger incision than if he/she has laparoscopic surgery. Pain medication after surgery will help with the discomfort. The nurses will remind the patient to breathe deeply and cough frequently. This helps prevent pneumonia. The donor will be getting out of bed soon after surgery to help prevent lung or other problems.
To make sure that the donor receives adequate fluids and nourishment, intravenous fluids will be given until normal oral intake is established.
A catheter will be placed in the bladder for 24 hours following the surgery.
What if I am not compatible with my intended recipient? Are there other options?
You and your recipient may be eligible for the Paired Donor Exchange Program. This program allows you to donate to another recipient who was not compatible with their donor and then their donor would donate to your recipient.
If you are interested in the option, please discuss it with your transplant coordinator. You may also obtain information at the Alliance for Paired Donation website.
When can the donor travel long distances and/or go home?
Generally within 1 to 2 weeks following the surgery, the surgeon will see the kidney donor again as an outpatient in their office. If the donor is from out of the Dallas area and is healing well without problems, the surgeon will release the donor to go home.
Does the donor need follow-up evaluations after giving a kidney?
Yes, the donor will need to have a follow-up visit 3 months after the surgery to see the transplant nephrologist for a follow-up evaluation. It will also be necessary for some follow-up testing, which will include a CBC, routine blood chemistries, urinalysis, urine culture, 24-hour urine for protein and creatinine, and a Glofil test. The transplant recipient’s insurance will pay for these follow-up tests.
It is recommended that the donor have annual follow-up examinations with their primary care physician. This examination may include a urinalysis, routine blood chemistries and blood pressure check. The donor will be financially responsible for the annual follow-up examinations.
There are usually no restrictions to activity. Some physicians may recommend that the donor refrain from contact sports following the donation of a kidney.
In order to comply with UNOS data collection requirements, donors will be contacted by the Transplant center at 6 months, 1 year and 2 years post-donation to answer a short set of questions regarding the donor’s current health status. The donor may be asked to go to their primary care physician to have a blood pressure check, a urinalysis to check for protein, and a renal panel blood test if they are from out of town, or they may be asked to have these tests performed at the transplant center. UNOS requires this data for donor follow-up.
Have additional questions regarding living kidney donor transplant, including being an organ donor? Call Dallas Nephrology Associates at 877-654-3639 or contact us via our convenient online form.