There is no way to know how long you may be on the waiting list for a
kidney from a donor who has passed away. It could take as little as a
few weeks to several years. While you are waiting, blood work will be
done every month to check your antibody levels. This will help your team
find the kidney that is an acceptable match for you. It will also let
your doctors know if your body may reject a specific kidney due to high
High antibody levels can result from a blood transfusion, pregnancy or
previous transplant. If your antibody levels are high, it will be harder
to find a compatible kidney for you and you may have a longer wait.
Distribution of Kidneys
Kidneys from deceased donors are distributed through the United Network
for Organ Sharing (UNOS). This organization has a national list that is
on computer. The list is kept up to date with all of the important
information about patients waiting for kidneys. It operates 24 hours a
day, every day of the year.
Whenever a kidney becomes available, a computer list is generated which
allocates or distributes the kidney to an individual based on degree of
match, time waiting and level of antibody in the blood.
Notification of Kidney Availability
No one can predict when a kidney may become available for you. However,
your transplant team will work with you to arrange a contact system so
that you can be notified immediately if a kidney does become available.
You will be contacted by telephone.
The kidney that you will receive will be stored in a cold, slushy
solution and has a limited viability span. So, once you are called, you
must be immediately available to come into the hospital. If we are
unable to contact you when a kidney becomes available, then we must
offer the kidney to the next person on the list.
In some cases you may be called as back-up. This means that there are
other patients in front of you for this particular kidney. If they are
not compatible or not available, you would receive the kidney.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.