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Pediatric Kidney Donor Information

As in adult kidney donation, there are two main types of donor options available:
Living Donor and Deceased Donor.

Living Kidney Donor

Since the possibility of a living donor, within the circle of family and friends will be explored, a separate team will be activated and begin an evaluation process focusing exclusively on the potential of living donors. Once the medical testing process has identified someone to be a suitable living donor, the transplant surgery may be scheduled. A few days prior to surgery, final lab and compatibility testing will be done. On the day of the surgery, the child and donor will be asked to report to University Hospital early in the morning. The donor will go to the operating room first and then two to three hours later the child’s operation will begin. Family may stay with their loved ones before surgery and members of the Transplant team will provide regular updates.

After surgery, the child and donor will go the Surgical Recovery area and the intensive process of post-operative monitoring will begin.

Deceased Kidney Donor

Since a living donor is not always available, organ allocation rules in the United States recognize the value of good functioning kidney transplant in children. Children are thus advantaged in terms of access to quality deceased donor kidneys. This means children on the deceased donor transplant list generally wait months rather than years for a kidney to become available. In turn, children and families must be emotionally prepared and ready from the moment they are active on the list. 

Families of children receiving a deceased donor kidney transplant will receive a call from a transplant coordinator when a kidney is made available. The child and family will be directed to University Hospital and admitted to the Golisano Children's Hospital (GCH). Members of the Nephrology, Transplant, and Anesthesia team will meet with child/family and lab and other testing will be done. When ready, the child will go the operating room. Transplant surgery generally takes 3-4 hours.

After surgery, the child will initially go the Surgical Recovery area and the intensive process of post-operative monitoring will begin. 

Post-operative Surgical Care

After one to two hours in the Recovery area, the child will be transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) on the 12th floor of the GCH for monitoring to make sure the transplanted kidney is functioning properly. The urine amount each hour will be measured and blood testing will be done frequently. Medications to prevent rejection will be given. 

After two to three days, most patients can be transferred out of the PICU and discharged home after five to seven days. Prior to discharge, transplant nurse coordinators will review home medications and monitoring. After discharge, the children will be seen often by the Pediatric Nephrologist and team in the Transplant Clinic at Upstate. Blood and urine will be tested to check for infection and rejection.  Medication doses will be adjusted over time, as necessary.