The Kidney Transplant Evaluation Process

Your transplant evaluation provides a chance for you and your family to learn as much as possible about transplantation in order to decide if you could benefit from a kidney transplant. The pre-transplant evaluation also offers an opportunity for the Emory transplant team to learn about your medical history and determine your suitability for a transplant. Your transplant evaluation serves the important function of helping both the team and you decide if transplantation is your best treatment option.

Your first visit in the evaluation process will be for an education session. During this meeting, which will last two to three hours, you will have the opportunity to meet several different members of the team and learn about the medical, surgical, and financial aspects of kidney transplantation. You may bring along family members, and you will have ample opportunities to ask questions.

Pre-Kidney Transplant Testing

Testing will begin with a complete medical history and physical exam. We will also perform a chest x-ray and an EKG (heart tracing test). If you are over 45 years old, have diabetes, or have other risk factors for heart disease, a cardiologist (heart specialist) will perform a stress test on your heart.

Then, depending upon the cause of your kidney disease and your age, an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI of your abdomen may also be performed. If you have diabetes, an ultrasound of the neck will be required, and possibly a blood pressure cuff test to measure blood flow to your legs. An eye examination may also be necessary.

Other tests may include studies of your bladder and lower urinary tract. Women over 35 years of age should have a mammogram, and all women will need a current gynecological examination and PAP smear to rule out infections or other problems. A current dental examination is also recommended for all patients. A colonoscopy is recommended for all patients over 50 years old.

After the transplant evaluation, your tests and lab work will be reviewed by the transplant team. You and your primary nephrologist will be notified of our recommendation by telephone and in writing. If we determine that you could benefit from a kidney transplant, we encourage you to contact the Mentor Project to talk to other patients who have had transplants. Their firsthand insights may help you make your own decision about whether to pursue a kidney transplant.