Living Donation Medical Evaluation

Once a willing living donor is identified, like the transplant recipient, the donor must also go through an extensive medical evaluation to ensure that he or she is an acceptable and compatible donor.  The evaluation process can be broken down into the three following phases:

Phase I

  1. An initial screening form is completed.
  2. Tissue typing is performed which consists of a series of blood tests (no actual tissue is collected) used to identify and compare inherited markers on blood cells that helps the transplant staff predict how well the recipients's body will accept the donated kidney.
  3. 24 hour urine collection is performed to evaluate kidney function.

Phase II

  1. A complete history and physical with height, weight, and blood pressure checks are performed and education is presented regarding what it means to become a donor.
  2. Multiple blood tests are performed: routine chemistry, complete blood count, hepatitis and AIDS screens, clotting studies, viral studies, repeat tissue-typing, etc.
  3. A chest x-ray is taken.
  4. Microscopic urinalysis and a urine culture are performed.
  5. Pregnancy and PAP tests are given for all females.
  6. A short and painless Electrocardiogram (EKG) is performed to record the electrical activity of the heart.
  7. An interview takes place with the Transplant Program social worker and financial coordinator.
  8. A test called a spiral CT (a three-dimensional high density CT scan) is scheduled. During the test, dye is injected through a catheter. Then, x-rays are taken of the veins and arteries going to the kidneys.  This test helps the surgeon decide which kidney is best to remove.

Phase III

Before the kidney donation is approved, the results of all related tests are reviewed again by the Transplant Team Donor Advocacy Panel to ensure that the donor's health would not be at undue risk from kidney donation.  Depending on the panel's findings, other testing may be required.  If all test results are acceptable then the donor will be evaluated by the surgeon who would be performing the kidney removal and with that surgeon's approval, the surgery will be scheduled.