UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

Recipient FAQ

Pre-Transplant

Q: How do I get referred to The Transplant Center?
A: Self-Referral
    Nephrologist (kidney doctor)
    Dialysis Unit

Q: What do I do after I am referred?
A: You will receive a call from our office to schedule an evaluation. You will then receive a packet of information in the mail.

Evaluation

Q: What do I do when I arrive for my evaluation?
A: You will undergo testing in the morning, which may include lab work, chest x-ray, EKG and CAT scan. Then you meet the Transplant Team.

Q: How long is the evaluation appointment?
A: The evaluation takes most of the day. You will have a lunch break. The transplant team members you will see will include: transplant surgeon, transplant nephrologist, transplant coordinator, social worker, psychologist, dietician and financial coordinator.

Q: Who do I bring with me to my evaluation?
A: We encourage you to bring family/support person who will be with you throughout the transplant process. 

Q: What do I do after my evaluation?
A: After your evaluation, the surgeon and nephrologist will determine what further testing needs (example: heart doctor, lung doctor etc.). Once completed, your results will be presented to the transplant Listing Committee.

Q: What happens after my evaluation?
A: After the evaluation the pre transplant coordinator presents the information at the Listing Committee. The committee will make one of three decisions:  
    Denied
    Approved
    Provisional approval pending further tests.

Patients on Waiting List

Q: What do I do after I am approved to be listed at Iowa Methodist Transplant Center?
A: The pre-transplant coordinator notifies you of the Listing Committee's decision. They will also send you a letter stating the Listing Committee's decision. 

Q: What do I do after I am listed?
A: Stay Healthy
    Notify your transplant coordinator if you are sick or hospitalized 
    Notify with change of phone number or address
    Leaving town 

Q: What do I do when I get the call to come in for a potential kidney transplant?
A: You will be called by transplant coordinator. The coordinator will inform you of your next steps. It is important to ensure your phone number is up to date with the transplant team.

Post-Transplant

Q: How long does the surgery take?
A: Surgery time depends on body size, age, comorbidities (other medical problems). A kidney transplant typically takes 2-4 hours.

Q: What happens after surgery?
A: After surgery you are taken to recovery. You will be there for a 1-2 hours.  Typically, you are then transferred to our transplant floor, Younker 5. 

Q: What should I expect once I get to Younker 5?
A: You will receive one-on-one care with a transplant trained nurse from Younker 5 for the first 24 hours. They monitor vital signs very carefully and start the education with you and your support team.

Q: How do I learn my new medications and lifestyle?
A: The transplant team sees you every day while you are in the hospital. We have transplant coordinators and transplant pharmacists that help you and your family learn your new regimen. We help walk you through this new journey to make the transition easier.

Q: How long am I in the hospital after receiving a transplant?
A: Typically, you are in the hospital for about 5 days. 

Q: After I am discharged from the hospital when and how often do I come to Transplant Clinic?
A: We will see you in clinic every week with lab tests three times a week.  This will continue until your lab tests stabilize. 

Q: After transplant do I still see my kidney doctor?
A: Yes, we want you to continue seeing your original kidney doctor. We try to alternate appointments: you see the transplant team, and the next appointment you see your kidney doctor.

Q: How long do you see me after my transplant?
A: The transplant team sees you for the first year after transplant. After the first year, you "graduate" to seeing your kidney doctor. We like to see you yearly unless you are having any problems. Then, we will see you sooner. 

General Questions

Q: What do I do if I live out of town?
A: We have contracted with a local hotel for recovery after transplant surgery. Talk to your transplant coordinator, and he or she can provide details. We ask that you stay in the Des Moines area after transplant until your surgeon advises you can go home.

Q: What do I do if someone wants to donate a kidney?
A: Please have your donor call us at 515-241-4044 or 1-888-343-4164.

Q: What if my blood type doesn't match my donors?
A: We are part of the national paired exchange pilot study though UNOS.

Q: What if I don't have a living donor?
A: Talk to your coordinator about living donors and how you can approach friends, neighbors, church and organizations.