Organ Transplant Referral & Evaluation
When you choose Avera for your procedure, you’ll journey through the following three phases of organ transplant at Avera Transplant Institute:
- Referral and evaluation
- Wait list
- Post-organ transplant follow-up and care
Explore what will happen during the referral and evaluation phase, and rely on your pre-transplant nurse coordinator to answer your questions.
Step 1: Referral for a Transplant
Once you express interest in transplant, your doctor or dialysis unit will send Avera Transplant Institute a referral form. Then, you’ll receive a release-of-information form to sign and return before scheduling an evaluation.
Step 2: Transplant Evaluation
Evaluations take place at the transplant clinic in Sioux Falls or in an outreach clinic. Plan for the process to take a full day. You’ll meet with:
- Transplant coordinator – Gives initial education and answers your questions
- Dietitian – Assesses current dietary habits and compliance and explains possible dietary changes after transplant
- Diabetic educator – Reviews your diabetic history (if relevant), current medications and compliance, and discusses potential changes in diabetes after transplant
- Social worker – Assesses your support system, explains the financial impact of transplant and helps locate resources for your transplant
- Transplant surgeon – Evaluates your physical condition to make sure transplant surgery is safe for you and reviews the risks and benefits of surgery
- Transplant nephrologist – Examines your overall physical health to ensure no medical conditions would interfere with transplant
- Transplant pharmacist – Oversees the special medications you need as a transplant patient.
You also may need a chest X-ray, EKG and lab tests during your evaluation.
Step 3: Transplant Review & Selection Committee
Following your evaluation, transplant team members review your results and may recommend additional tests. Preventive screenings for cancer and infection are especially important because immunosuppressant medications you’ll take after transplant can make treating existing cancer or infection difficult.
Step 4: Complete Recommended Follow-up Appointments
You’ll get a letter identifying additional testing or evaluations needed to complete your transplant evaluation. A copy of this letter will go to your nephrologist, primary care physician and dialysis unit.
To keep your evaluation moving forward in a timely way, schedule recommended follow-up appointments as soon as possible. Send test results to the Avera Transplant Institute.
Step 5: Review of Results; Addition to Listing
The transplant team will review all your test results and decide if you qualify for transplant. You, your nephrologist and dialysis unit will receive a letter explaining the decision. If you’re approved for a transplant, you’ll be placed on the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list for an organ.
Each year you’re on the waiting list, you’ll need a re-evaluation to make sure you’re still healthy enough for a kidney transplant.