Before a Kidney Transplant | UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

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Before a Kidney Transplant | Iowa Methodist Transplant Center

Before Your Kidney Transplant


Anyone can make a referral to the Iowa Methodist Transplant Center. Patients may contact the Transplant Center themselves or be referred by their nephrologist, or dialysis unit. Before an evaluation will be scheduled, a health history form, physician contact form and release of information need to be filled out and sent back to the Transplant Center. Learn more about the referral process.


How long is the evaluation appointment?

The evaluation is a two-day process. You will meet with the transplant surgeon, transplant nephrologist, transplant coordinator, social worker, psychologist, dietitian, pharmacist and financial coordinator. You will also undergo testing, which may include lab work, chest x-ray, EKG and CAT scan. 

Who do I bring with me to my evaluation?

Bring your support person who will be with you throughout the transplant process. 

What do I do after my evaluation?

After your evaluation, the surgeon and nephrologist will determine if further testing is needed (heart doctor, lung doctor, etc.). Once completed, your results will be presented to the Transplant Listing Committee. The committee will make one of three decisions. You will either be approved, denied or be provisionally approved pending further tests.

Registration as a Transplant Candidate

Candidacy for kidney transplantation is determined by a multi-disciplinary team consisting of physicians, social workers, transplant surgeons, transplant nephrologists, transplant pharmacists, dietitians and transplant coordinators. Cases are presented to this team for their review and approval.

Kidney transplant candidacy is based on understanding the factors that may influence the long-term success of the transplant. These factors include the patient's history of treatment compliance, emotional status, family support, medical status and overall ability to comply with the rigorous post-transplant medication schedule. Kidney transplant candidacy listing criteria.

Once the patient is deemed a transplant candidate, he or she is placed on a national waiting list, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS serves to match candidates with available donors.

Transplant Waiting List

There are several things you can do after becoming listed on the Transplant Center's waiting list. First of all, stay healthy. Next, notify your transplant coordinator if you are sick or hospitalized, if you have a change of phone number or address and if you are leaving town. It's also important to notify the transplant team if you have a change in insurance.

When there is a potential kidney transplant available, you will receive a call from the 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.