Waiting for a Kidney to Become Available

There is no way to know how long you will have to wait before a deceased donor kidney becomes available for you. It could be between one and four years, and depends on many factors. Your physician can give you some information based on your blood type, degree of sensitization and other factors. Be sure to ask. After you complete the evaluation, and you are accepted and listed for an organ, waiting may be difficult. It helps to remember that once you get the phone call about a possible match, things will move very quickly.

You may also be waiting for a living donor to come forward. Again, this can be a difficult time and we are here to help and support you.

While you wait for the organ, keep your body and mind healthy:

  • See your doctor regularly
  • Take your medications as directed
  • Exercise to the best of your ability
  • Follow your prescribed diet
  • Consider joining a support group of pre-and post-transplant patients

Update the Transplant Institute with annual Pap smears, mammograms and stress tests, if told to do so by your nurse coordinator. Keep a record of any hospitalizations, infections or blood transfusions to report at each scheduled visit.

Support groups can provide reassurance and comfort, information, friendship and help in dealing with the emotional issues surrounding chronic illness and transplantation. We offer a weekly support group for liver patients who are pre- and post-transplant, and plan to offer other groups for kidney and pancreas patients in the near future. Your social worker and psychologist can help direct you to other support groups held here at BIDMC and in your local community.