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Pediatric Transplant Care

Waiting for a Kidney Transplant

Transplant Waiting List

If our transplant team determines your child is a good candidate for a kidney transplant, you will decide to register him or her on the waiting list.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) manages the computerized waiting list that stores medical information for every person waiting for a transplant. UNOS ensures a fair system for patients to receive healthy organs as they become available.

Kidney Wait Time for Kids

Children on the national waiting list have priority for deceased donor kidneys. The average wait time for your child will be much shorter than adults with the same blood type.

Kidney Matching

When a deceased donor kidney becomes available, the following criteria determine if your child will receive it:

  • Blood type – Same blood type
  • Tissue type – Determines which donors are well matched genetically to your child
  • Crossmatch – Checks that your child’s immune system won’t reject the donor's kidney

Living Kidney Donor

Work with the living donor champion at University Health to learn how to find a living kidney donor.

Waiting Period and Readiness

Waiting for a kidney transplant can be challenging and stressful. Even though you do not know when a kidney will become available, it is best if you’re ready for a call at any time.

Emotional Coping

Ask for help if your family has trouble coping with the waiting period. Discuss your concerns with the transplant team at University Health, a social worker, clergy, support group or counselor.

Planning Ahead

Prepare for responsibilities and financial expenses when your child is in the hospital and recovering at home. Make plans for:

  • Primary caregiver after transplant
  • Lodging while your child is in the hospital
  • Family responsibilities like bills, household chores and pet care while you are away

School Work

Your child will be away from school for at least eight weeks after a kidney transplant. Work with your transplant team to arrange for a teacher to come to your house and tutor your child.

Self-Care During the Wait

Take care of your child’s physical, mental and emotional health while waiting for a kidney transplant. Encourage your child to:

  • Eat well by following the recommended diet – Keeps your child as healthy as possible, provides nutrition and shortens recovery time
  • Stay physically active – Try new family activities, stay in shape with age-appropriate exercise during mild weather and allow your child to participate in P.E. classes at school but not in contact sports like football or wrestling
  • Visit the dentist regularly to avoid serious infections after transplant
  • Attend your child’s transplant clinic follow-up appointments
  • Maintain contact with the transplant team
    • Notify us if your child has a blood transfusion, immunizations or an infection
    • Update your child’s Transplant Coordinator if your telephone, address or insurance changes
    • Let us know if you are going out of town and share how we can reach you
  • Keep your child’s immunizations up-to-date

What to Bring

Pack a suitcase for your child and yourself to take to the hospital. Your child will need:

  • Clean, favorite blanket, stuffed animal or toy
  • Sleepwear, robe, slippers, etc.
  • Family photos (be sure to include the pets)
  • List of medications, health conditions and surgeries
  • Peritoneal dialysis supplies for one exchange
  • Personal hygiene items

You will need:

  • Personal banking supplies (checks, deposit slips, debit and credit cards)
  • Insurance cards and current photo ID
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes
  • Prescription medications for you and your child
  • Essential phone numbers of family, friends, school and doctors
  • Book or small craft project
  • Camera, phone, laptop or iPad and chargers


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