The Living Donor Pre-Transplant Evaluation

During the living donor pre-transplant evaluation, the donor may have some of these tests:

  • Screening tests before the evaluation: All female donors must also have a Pap smear and mammogram. Men must have a prostate specific antigen (PSA test). These tests are not included in the eval.
  • A routine medical exam: This includes the donor’s height and weight, blood pressure, family history of heart, kidney or other chronic disease, history of smoking or obesity, alcohol or drug use, and whether the donor has had any prior surgery.
  • Lab tests: These may include a complete blood count and tests for hepatitis, drugs, HIV and pregnancy. The kidney transplant surgeon decides which lab tests the donor needs.
  • Chest X-ray and electrocardiogram (EKG): These tests check the donor’s lungs and heart.
  • Kidney biopsy: This test checks the health of the kidney. A needle is placed through the skin to take a sample of kidney tissue. The kidney tissue sample goes to a lab for testing.
  • CT scan: This computerized image checks the size and shape of the donor’s kidney and the amount of kidney tissue in each lobe.
  • Angiogram: This test checks the size of the donor’s blood vessels outside the kidney to see if there are any blockages. Dye is injected into the artery so the blood vessels show up on X-ray.
  • A psychosocial evaluation: The donor will talk to a social worker and psychologist to make sure he understands the emotional aspects of living donation. The psychosocial exam also makes sure that the donor wants to donate his kidney free of any outside pressures from family or friends.

Based on his medical history, a donor may need more tests than those listed here. If there are no problems, the next step is to schedule the donor surgery. The entire process, beginning with the referral to the Children’s Kidney Transplant coordinator to the scheduled living donor kidney transplant, can take up to six months.