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Read our video scripts

In my work I use plain language to communicate health information. Finding the right words is a struggle and I’m always looking to improve. I’m posting the scripts to our videos. If you see something here that you like or if you think of a better way of saying something, feel free to let me know at contacttransplantinfo@gmail.com

Finding Hope with Kidney Transplantation

Finding hope with kidney transplantation.

I was feeling pretty good, so I was surprised when the doctor told me I had kidney disease.

I didn’t know what that meant or how kidneys work.

Could I die from this?

The doctor said I could do well with a kidney transplant.

But I didn’t know anything about transplants.

To get some answers, the doctor told me to check out transplantinfo.com.

I watched some of their videos.

Each video was about 3 minutes long and explained one part of the kidney transplant story.

I could watch them whenever I wanted to.

Seeing the videos made it easier to talk to the doctor because then I knew the basics.

I shared the videos with my friends and family, to help answer their questions.

Maybe these videos can help you, too.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com

What Is Kidney Failure

What is kidney failure?

My doctor told me they were worried about my kidneys, but I’m not really sure what kidneys do.

The doctor explained that the body has 2 kidneys.

Each one is the size of your fist and located in your lower back.

They both do the same job.

They have special cells that act like filters taking in blood and filtering out waste and excess water.

The clean blood is sent back to the body.

The waste and excess water is sent to the bladder where it is stored until you urinate.

If your kidney function is 100%, all the special filters are working and even one kidney could easily clean your blood.

However, there are many ways that your kidneys can become injured such as with high blood pressure, diabetes, and other diseases.

These affect both kidneys.

And their function will be reduced at the same time.

Usually this happens over many years. 

At 20% your kidneys are struggling to keep you healthy and won’t be able to do their job much longer.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to repair damage already done to the kidneys.

When the last remaining filters stop working, you’ll get very sick and need emergency dialysis to stay alive.

Dialysis is a treatment where your blood is filtered by a machine.

To avoid emergency dialysis your doctor will be watching your kidney function.

They check a number called your GFR which your doctor will see in your blood tests.

This test tells us how well your kidneys are functioning together.

You can ask your doctor about your GFR anytime your blood is checked.

As your kidney function continues to decline, your doctor will want you to see a kidney specialist, called a nephrologist.

Your nephrologist will closely monitor you and recommend treatment.

When your function goes down to 20%, your kidneys are struggling to keep you healthy and it’s time to go to a transplant center to be evaluated for a new kidney, which may allow you to avoid dialysis.

You can talk to your doctor about kidney transplantation or give your transplant center a call.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

What is Kidney Transplantation?

What is kidney transplantation?

Kidney transplantation is a treatment to help someone with kidney failure.

It is a surgery where someone donates one of their kidneys to a person in need.

The new kidney should work like your natural kidney used to, so it is the best option to live a longer more active life.

You’ll be able to drink normally and eat a wide variety of foods.

It’s easier to travel.

And, you’ll have the time and energy you need to work, spend time with your family, and do all the activities you love.

Like any surgery, a transplant has some risks.

A transplant expert will go over these with you and answer any questions you have.

After the transplant, you’ll need a few weeks to recover, and you’ll also need to take medicines to help protect your new kidney.

The transplant team is always there for you if you need any help or have any questions.

We will schedule regular appointments to help keep you and your new kidney healthy.

If you’re thinking about kidney transplantation, the time to ask about it is when your doctor tells you your kidney function is around 20%.

At 20%, you have time to call your transplant center and make an appointment and get your testing done.

Which may allow you to get a kidney without ever needing dialysis.

For those who are already on dialysis, give your transplant center a call today.

Our team is ready to help you start your transplant journey.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Can I Get a Kidney Transplant?

Can I get a kidney transplant?

Many people think they can’t get a kidney transplant, but when they visit the transplant center, they find out that they really can.

People who get kidney transplants come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.

Many older people and children get kidney transplants.

If you have medical issues or take medications, you may be able to get a kidney.

Our team will work with you and your doctors to get you ready.

If your doctor wants you to lose weight, there’s still a good chance you can get a kidney.

We’ll let you know if your current weight will stop you from getting the surgery.

Our dietician is available to answer any questions and help you meet a weight that is safe for your surgery.

If you have HIV or hepatitis and it’s under control, you could get a kidney transplant.

We’ll make sure your medications are adjusted to keep you healthy. 

If you have cancer that’s in remission, you may be able to get a transplant.

If you’re diabetic, you may be able to get a kidney and a pancreas transplant to help control your diabetes.

Just because you smoke doesn’t mean you can’t get a kidney.

We will check your health status to make sure that it’s safe for you to have surgery. 

And, if you want to quit, we can help you.

Using marijuana or CBD products might not be a problem either.

Don’t let any of your health issues prevent you from looking into a transplant.

If you’re worried about the costs, most insurers cover transplant, but there may be co-pays.

Our financial coordinator can help you get the support you need so you can get a kidney transplant.

If you’re not sure how to find a donor, we can help you get the word out or you could wait for a kidney from someone who has passed away.

Many people get kidney transplants before they have to start dialysis.

This can happen if you’re evaluated early enough.

If you’re already on dialysis, there’s still a good chance you can get a kidney.

Give us a call today.

All sorts of people can and do get kidney transplants and we will work together to help you get one too.

For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

How Do I Get a Kidney Transplant?

How do I get a kidney transplant?

The path to a kidney transplant begins with a visit to the transplant center.

On the day of your visit, bring 1 or 2 family members or friends with you for support.

Bring your insurance card, photo ID, and a list of your medicines or all your pill bottles.

Bring a list of any questions you have too.

It will be a full day meeting the transplant team and having a few simple tests. 

Bring a snack in case you get hungry.

The most important person you will meet is your transplant coordinator, who is a nurse and will help you every step of the way.

Your coordinator will give you their name and number.

They’ll be your main contact to the transplant team.

You will also meet a social worker who will teach you how to set up your support network and make sure that you understand your medicines and treatment plans.

A financial counselor will help you understand your insurance.

If you have any out-of-pocket costs, they will help keep it to a minimum.

A dietician may meet with you about healthy eating.

You will get a check-up by a doctor and also an EKG, chest x ray and blood work.

During your visit, the coordinator will make a checklist of the tests and follow-ups you still need to have done over the next few months.

We’ll be happy to schedule the appointments for you.

Different people need different tests to make sure transplantation is safe for them.

Most will need heart testing and a CAT scan.

We’ll also help you get up-to-date with your routine health exams.

Each time you go in for a test, let your coordinator know.

They’ll check it off the list of tests that you need and move you one step closer to getting a transplant.

If you get a result that doesn’t turn out the way you were hoping, we’ll try to solve the problem and get you re-tested.

When the tests are done, the team will meet to make sure that we’ve done everything we need to do to get you on the list.

Then the coordinator will give you a call.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Am I on the Kidney Waiting List?

Am I on the kidney waiting list?

You’ve met with the transplant team and started getting tests and seeing doctors so you can get on the list.

But how do you know if you’re on the list or not?

When you get on the list, the coordinator will call you and you will also get a letter from the transplant team.

When you get the letter, look to see if it says active.

If the letter says active, then it means you are on the list and approved for a transplant.

You could receive a kidney offer anytime.

If the letter says inactive, you’re STILL on the waiting list for a kidney but you won’t get any kidney offers.

Inactive means that there are some tests or appointments that you need to complete to be ready for transplantation.

Usually, it’s only a few things that need to be taken care of to get you back on track and on your way to getting a kidney.

Call your coordinator so they can help you schedule the appointments to get you active and ready for a transplant.

Remember, when the transplant center puts you on the list, you will get a phone call and a letter from us.

If that letter says active, then you are on the list and can get a kidney offer anytime.

While you’re waiting for a kidney, continue to take care of yourself. 

We’ll let you know about additional blood work needed to get kidney offers.

If you receive a letter that says inactive, you’re still on the list but not ready for a transplant just yet.

Call your coordinator.

We’re here to help you stay active on the list and on your way to a new kidney.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Who Gets the Next Kidney Transplant?

Who gets the next kidney transplant?

People waiting for a kidney from a deceased donor often want to know how the list works.

Let’s look into it.

When a kidney becomes available, the donor information is entered into the transplant network computer.

The computer first identifies all the people with special genetic matches.

If one is found, the kidney will go to that person.

If no special match is found, then to decide who gets the kidney, the computer checks the score for each person on the list that is compatible.

The person with the highest score on that list gets the kidney.

Your score depends on a few factors.

As soon as the transplant center submits your information for the list, the computer looks back to see how many years you’ve been on dialysis and gives you credit for each year.

Your score determines your spot on the list.

If you’ve never been on dialysis, being on the list increases your score.

You’ll get a point for each year that you’re on the list.

So, the sooner you get on the list, the faster you can get a transplant.

Some people get kidneys this way without ever needing dialysis.

The computer also factors in special considerations.

For example, it matches the healthiest kidneys with children and the healthiest adults.

Preference is also given to previous living kidney donors.

Your transplant doctor will let you know if you have any special considerations and make sure that the information is in the computer.

Personal factors like celebrity status, your income, or race, play no role in your spot on the list.

So, remember, the sooner you get on the list, the faster you can get a transplant.

Let us help you get on the list today.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Kidney Transplant Ratings

Kidney transplant ratings.

You’ve been to the transplant center, and you’re cleared for a kidney.

Some people are able to find a live donor, but most do well with a kidney from someone who has passed away.

When you get a call offering you a kidney from a deceased donor, the transplant specialist will give you a number.

It will be a number between 0 and 100.

This is how we rate kidneys, and it’s called the kidney donor profile index, or KDPI for short.

With this score, lower numbers are better, sort of like the mileage on a car.

If the KDPI is between 0 and 20, the kidney will probably last about 12 years.

If the KDPI is 21 to 85, then the kidney will probably last about 9 years.

If the KDPI is between 86 and 100, then the kidney will probably last about 6 years.

These numbers are only averages.

A kidney that is well taken care of can easily last longer than the average, and if a kidney does not last as long as you need, there’s often the chance of getting another one.

Since kidneys with the lowest number usually last the longest, they’re given to healthier patients.

Most people on the list get kidney offers that start at 21 and higher.

Kidneys with the highest number usually last the shortest amount of time, so they’re only offered to those who agree to consider them.

So, why would anyone accept a kidney with a KDPI between 86 and 100?

It’s because you can get these kidneys faster.

These kidneys are a good option for people who need a kidney as soon as possible.

With KDPI, lower numbers are better, sort of like mileage on a car.

The lower the number, the longer the kidney should last.

You can get kidneys with a higher number quicker, and this might be a better choice for you.

Because the sooner you get a transplant, the sooner you can start living a more normal life.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Finding A Living Kidney Donor

Finding a living kidney donor. 

A kidney from a living donor is your best option to live a longer healthier life. 

With a living donor, a transplant can happen quickly. 

You may not even need dialysis.

A living donor could be a family member, friend, or even a stranger who just wants to help out. 

A donor doesn’t have to live in the same city or even the same country as you.

There are many ways to find your kidney donor.  

Ask your friends and family to get the word out. 

If you belong to a religious or other large group, ask them to help too. 

Having others spread the word that you need a kidney can make a big difference.

The transplant center can connect you with great resources. 

Most have classes to help you get started.  

Here are some of the things you can try.

You can share our videos about kidney donation.

They can be emailed or texted to people in your life to get the conversation going. 

If you’re on social media, you can make a post or even a page telling your story and link our videos to your page.

Make a simple flyer that tells your story. 

Include your name and your transplant centers phone number on it. 

Other things people have done are yard signs, ads, stickers for your car, Billboards, t-shirts, and business cards. 

But all you need to get started is to have that first conversation with someone. 

You never know who might want to donate.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Faster Kidney Transplant with Multi-Listing

Faster kidney transplant with multi-listing.

You’ve been to a Transplant Center, and you’re approved for a kidney.

And now you’re on the waiting list. 

Unfortunately, the waiting time for a kidney at your center is several years.

Transplant centers throughout the country have different waiting times.

But you can get on the waiting list for a kidney at more than one transplant center.

This is called multi-listing.

Let’s find a center with a short wait time near you and get you listed there. 

Start at the website txmultilisting.com

We’ve provided the link in the description. 

Click on “reduce wait”.

The transplant centers are listed from shortest wait time to longest. 

Find another center near you that has a short wait time.

Then give them a call to set up an appointment. 

The listing process is often quicker since you’ve already had your tests done.

So, you can get on the list at your local center.

Then use txmultilisting to find another center with a shorter wait time and get on their list too.

By multilisting you can get your kidney sooner.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Kidney Transplant Day

Kidney Transplant Day.

When the big day arrives, a nurse will greet you and help you get settled in the surgery waiting area a few hours before your transplant.

A friend or family member may be able to stay with you.  

Your surgeon will check in with you and answer any questions.

An anesthesiologist will talk to you about being put under for the surgery and will give you relaxing medicines. 

After you’re asleep, a small, soft tube will be placed in your bladder to drain your urine.

The surgery is done on your belly just below your navel through one incision about the length of a straw.

There’s plenty of space for your new kidney.

Your old kidneys are unlikely to cause any trouble, so we leave them in place.

The kidney has an artery and a vein that allows the kidney to filter your blood.

It also has a ureter that carries the urine to your bladder.

These will be connected to your artery, vein, and bladder inside your belly.

We’ll make sure everything looks good.

And then your surgeon will close up your incision with either staples or stitches, whichever will work best for you.

The surgery usually takes 2 or 3 hours.

The surgeon will speak to the people waiting for you and tell them how the surgery went.

When you wake up, a nurse will be at your bedside.

They will ask you how you are feeling and give you medicines to keep you comfortable.

You may be able to have a visitor and sips of water.

The transplant team will be monitoring you during your stay at the hospital.

Most people will be able to go home in a couple of days.

We’ll talk more about it in the next video.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Hospital Recovery After Your Kidney Transplant

Hospital recovery after your kidney transplant.

You’ve just received a kidney transplant and you’re starting to recover.

The transplant team will check in with you every day to make sure that your recovery is going well and answer any questions that you might have. 

A nurse will be continuously monitoring you.

They will show you how to keep your lungs strong by taking deep breaths and measuring how big each breath is. 

Soon after surgery, the nurse will slip the tube out of your bladder, and you’ll be able to start eating. 

Many patients are surprised how quickly they are able to get up.

Walk as much as you can, to the bathroom, down the hallway, even upstairs. 

Kidneys from living donors usually function immediately and more than half of deceased donor kidneys start working right away. 

If your kidney doesn’t start working right away, we’ll see this in your blood work.

We call this delayed graft function or a sleepy kidney.

This is not unusual. 

The team is well prepared to take care of you and your new kidney as it settles in.

We’ll monitor you closely and keep you on dialysis until the kidney starts working. 

You can usually go home in a few days even if you need dialysis. 

Before heading home, you and a caregiver will meet with the transplant team to help you get ready to take care of your new kidney. 

You’ll need someone to drive you from the hospital and we’ll see you in clinic for a follow-up in a day or two. 

Getting a kidney transplant may seem like a lot to manage, but our team is here to help you every step of the way. 

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Kidney Transplant Medications

Kidney transplant medications.

After your kidney transplant, you’ll be taking new medications to keep your kidney healthy.

Before you leave the hospital, a pharmacist will meet with you and your caregiver. They will set up your medications in a pill box and teach you how to organize them.

Not everyone is on the same regimen but here are some of the basics.

You’ll need to take medication a few times throughout the day.

You’ll take a few medications to prevent rejection, to prevent infection, and to prevent heartburn.

You’ll stay on the antirejection pills but the medications for heartburn and infection may only be needed for a short time.

Your doctor will let you know when to stop taking them. 

You will need to stay on the medications that prevent rejection for the life of the kidney.

We may also make some adjustments to the medicines that you were taking before your transplant.

We’ll schedule appointments to monitor you and make adjustments when needed to keep your kidney healthy.

Even if you’re feeling great, it’s important to continue to take your medications as prescribed to keep yourself and your new kidney strong.

You can eat and drink a wide variety of foods.

Avoid grapefruit or grapefruit juice because they interfere with the transplant medicine.

If for any reason you can’t get your medications or you have any questions about your transplant, call us anytime day or night.

The transplant team is here to help keep you and your kidney strong and healthy.  

For more information visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

Visiting the Clinic After Your Kidney Transplant

Visiting the clinic after your kidney transplant.

You just got your kidney transplant and you’ve gone home to recuperate.

You’ll be making regular visits to our clinic so we can monitor your progress.

Every time you come to our clinic it’s important to remember that you don’t take your morning pills.

Simply bring your medicines with you and take them later in the clinic after your blood is drawn.

Be sure to come with your caregiver who should drive you until you are cleared to drive yourself, which is usually 2 to 3 weeks after your surgery.

In the clinic, we’ll ask how you’re doing and if you’re having any trouble with the medications so we can make any adjustments that are needed.

Any change we make will be made on your medication list so you always know exactly which medicines you should be taking.

We’ll also give you a check-up and take a look at your incision.

If you have stitches, they’ll dissolve on their own.

If you have staples, we’ll remove them three weeks after your surgery.

You shouldn’t lift anything over ten pounds for about 2 months.

The pharmacist will meet with you and help you organize your pill box.

You can also meet with other members of the team, like a dietician, social worker, and financial counselor.

We’ll see you in our clinic twice a week at first.

Over time, we’ll see you less as your new kidney settles in.

If you’re having any trouble keeping your appointments or have any questions, you can call us anytime.

We are here to help keep you and your new kidney strong and healthy.

For more information visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

Being Active After Your Kidney Transplant

Being active after your kidney transplant.

Most kidney recipients have higher energy levels after transplantation.

But you shouldn’t lift anything over 10 pounds for about 2 months.

As soon as you’ve been cleared by your doctor for full activity, you can go back to doing the things you used to enjoy.

Exercising is great for your mental health.

It’s good for heart and lungs and to keep your muscles and bones strong.

As a transplant recipient there’s a few things you should know.

When you’re enjoying the outdoors, be sure to use sun block.

Your transplant medications make you more susceptible to skin cancer.

It’s important to stay hydrated, so don’t forget your water bottle.

If you participate in contact sports, wear a pad over your kidney.

Avoid sports where you are being hit in the stomach or back.

You may even want to participate in the transplant games.

Transplant recipients and donors compete in many sports like swimming, basketball, running, and golf.

With a transplant, travel will be easier than when you were on dialysis.

You may want to take a trip.

Tell us about your plans and we’ll help you prepare.

You’ll want to pack enough medications to last the whole trip, then add a little extra in case you extend your trip or have travel delays.

You should always keep a list of your medications and the phone number of your doctor and pharmacy on you.

This is especially important when travelling.

Be sure to pack your medicines in your carry-on luggage so they’ll always be within reach. 

If you want to travel out of the country, we suggest you wait 6 to 12 months after your transplant.

By planning ahead, you can enjoy your trip and keep your kidney healthy. However, you decide to be active, let us know your plans so we can help. For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

Organ Transplant and COVID Vaccines

Organ transplant and COVID vaccines.

Do you have questions about how COVID and vaccines affect organ transplants?

If you’re thinking about a transplant or already have one, here’s what you can do to protect yourself.

Everybody should get vaccinated and keep up to date with boosters. 

Being vaccinated lowers the risk of getting severely ill if you get COVID.

If you’re waiting for a transplant, vaccination is the best way for you to keep yourself well and ready for your new organ. 

If you already have a transplant, get your vaccine as soon as your doctor says that you can. 

All of the COVID vaccines can be used by transplant recipients. 

Ask your friends and family to help protect you by getting vaccinated and boosted too.

Even after you’re vaccinated, be careful. 

Wear your mask and avoid crowds. 

If you’re getting together with others try to meet outside and keep 6 feet apart.

Be sure to take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.

If you’re considering an organ transplant, we want you to know that the centers are still open, doing transplants, and taking care of patients. 

Organ transplantation is still the best thing for your health and quality of life. 

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or transplant center. 

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Caring for Kidney Transplant Complications

Caring for kidney transplant complications.

After you go home from your kidney transplant, we’ll be seeing you regularly in our clinic so we can help keep you comfortable and keep your kidney healthy as it settles in.

Here are some of the most common things we help our patients with.

Most recipients will have some temporary swelling in their feet and legs.

This is because we give a lot of fluids during the surgery to keep the new kidney hydrated.

Elevating your legs will help reduce the swelling.

You may have some stomach upset from the transplant medications.

This might be from taking your medications on an empty stomach.

Try eating a little something before you take your pills.

And be sure to tell your doctor if you continue to have stomach issues.

They may change your medication.

But remember, it’s very important to take the right amount of medications at the right time.

Even missing one dose can put your kidney at risk.

When you visit the clinic, we’ll check your incision.

Usually, it heals on its own.

In some cases, the incision leaks fluid.

We take care of that by giving you a bandage.

We’ll arrange for a nurse to visit you at home regularly to change your bandage until the incision is healed.

Sometimes patients will need a kidney biopsy after a transplant.

A biopsy often allows us to see a problem early and treat it by adjusting your medication.

If your kidney doesn’t start working right away, we’ll see this in your blood work.

We call it a delayed graft function or a sleepy kidney.
This is not unusual.

The team is well prepared to take care of you and your new kidney as it settles in and keep you on dialysis until the kidney starts working.

We are dedicated to the success of our transplant recipients and we’re here for you before, during, and after your transplant.

Call us any time you have questions or concerns.

We are always here to help you.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Transplant Medication Vacation

Transplant medication vacation.

About a year ago Joe had a kidney transplant.

He was feeling great and his doctors said his numbers looked good.

So he decided to go fishing for the weekend, like he used to.

He left from work on a Friday got to the camp and unpacked.

Then his phone went off reminding him to take his meds.

He looked in his bag and realized that he forgot to pack his medication.

He thought to himself, “the doctor says I’m doing good, so I’ll just take extra when I get home in two days.”

He fished for the rest of the weekend and enjoyed his trip.

When he got home Sunday night, he took the extra dose and felt fine.

Unfortunately, at his next check-up, the doctor said that his bloodwork showed signs of severe kidney rejection and asked him if he had been taking his medication.

Joe said that he had gone fishing for the weekend and forgot to bring his medications.

So, he had taken extra when he got home.

The doctor said, “That doesn’t work.”

And that it was extremely important to take the right amount of the medications at the right time.

And that missing even one dose could put his kidney at risk.

The doctor said that his new kidney was permanently damaged and would require extra medications and close monitoring.

But they would work together and try and save the transplant.

The doctor sent Joe to the transplant pharmacist to get his new meds.

The pharmacist said, “Here’s what I tell my patients, every time you walk out the door, check for your phone, wallet, keys, and your meds. They’re just that important.”

Joe promised himself that he’d never miss another dose even if he had to drive back home to get his medications.

If you miss a dose, call us right away.

If you have trouble sticking to your schedule or getting your medications, contact us.

These medications are very important to take as scheduled.

You can do it and we’re here to help you.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

What is a Living Kidney Donor?

What is living kidney donor?

When somebody has advanced kidney disease, they’ll need a transplant.

The best kidneys come from living donors.

With a living donor, a transplant can happen before the recipient needs dialysis.

Kidneys from living donors usually start working immediately and last twice as long as kidneys from donors who have passed away.

That means the recipient can live a longer, fuller life.

So, who can be a living donor?

A living donor might be a family member, spouse, friend, or even a stranger who just wants to help out.

Anyone interested in donating can call a transplant center and make an appointment to meet with a donation specialist.

There’s no obligation to donate.

They’ll answer your questions, and you can get a complete check-up to make sure that it’s safe to donate.

The visit is free and if you decide to donate, the recipient’s insurance covers the cost of the surgery.

The surgery for donating a kidney is usually done through three dime-sized incisions and one incision about the width of a dollar bill.

Your remaining kidney will automatically adjust to your body’s needs.

You will feel sore after the surgery and will get medications for the pain.

Generally, the donor leaves the hospital in just a day or two, and most get back to simple activities within a week.

Within a month, donors are usually completely healed without any activity restrictions.

There’s no need to follow a special diet or take special medicines.

Most go on to lead a long, healthy life with only one kidney.

Around 6,000 people each year choose to become living kidney donors.

While donating a kidney does have some risks, most donors say that their experience was excellent, and they would do it again if they could.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

The Basics About Living Kidney Donation

The basics about living kidney donation.

Would you like to know more about kidney donation?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Our videos will tell you all about it.

Let’s start with the basics.

When a kidney patient needs a transplant, the best kidneys come from living donors.

Why are these kidneys the best?

With a living donor, a transplant can happen before the recipient even needs dialysis.

Kidneys from living donors usually start working immediately and are often healthier and last twice as long as kidneys from donors who have passed away.

That means the recipient can live a longer, fuller life.

So, who can be a living donor?

A living donor might be a family member, spouse, friend, or even a stranger who just wants to help out.

Anyone interested in donating can call a transplant center and make an appointment to meet a donation specialist.

You can ask questions and get a complete check-up to make sure that it’s safe to donate.

The visit is free and so is the surgery.

The recipient’s insurance covers these costs.

Now you might wonder what living donor surgery is like.

The surgery for donating a kidney is usually done through three dime-sized incisions and one incision about the width of a dollar bill.

The remaining kidney will automatically adjust to the body’s needs.

The donor will feel sore after the surgery and will get medications for the pain.

Generally, the donor leaves the hospital in just a day or two, and most get back to simple activities within a week.

Within a month, donors are usually completely healed without any activity restrictions.

There’s no need to follow a special diet or take special medicines and most go on to lead a long, healthy life with only one kidney.

Around 6,000 people each year choose to become living kidney donors.

While donating a kidney does have some risks, most donors say their experience was excellent, and they would do it again if they could.

For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

Who Can Be a Kidney Donor?

Who can be a kidney donor?

Donors come in all shapes, sizes, and ages.

Even a healthy senior can be a kidney donor.

If you’re seeing a doctor and taking medications to stay in good health, you could still be able to donate and we’re here to help you find out.

If your doctor wants you to be more active or eat more vegetables, there’s still a good chance you can donate.

Your lifestyle and social habits might not be a problem either.

If your blood pressure is on the high side or your cholesterol isn’t on target, we can help you get it under control, watch it over time, and let you know if it’s safe to donate.

A kidney stone that isn’t causing problems usually won’t keep you from donating.

If you’re not a match with your recipient your donation can still help them get a kidney. 

Our video on kidney exchange can show you how.

A donor doesn’t have to live in the same state or even the same country as the recipient.

We can arrange for your preliminary testing close to home.

Many women have children after kidney donation.

We can answer any questions, or you can talk to your gynecologist about pregnancy after donation.

All sorts of people can and do become kidney donors.

If you’re wondering if you can donate a kidney, give us a call.

If your health history checks out, the donation coordinator will invite you in for a complete check-up to make sure that donation is safe for you.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

How Do I Become a Kidney Donor?

How do I become a kidney donor?

Finding out if you can be a kidney donor starts with a call to the transplant center.

You can call your nearest center or, if you know the recipient, you can contact their center.

When you call, the donation coordinator will take your medical history.

If it looks good, you’ll come in for a simple blood test to see if you match the recipient.

We’ll call you with your results.

If you’re not a match, you still might be able to donate.

The donation coordinator will tell you how.

If you are a match, you’ll schedule a no-cost visit to the transplant center for evaluation and testing.

Feel free to bring a friend or family member with you.

During this appointment, you will meet with your donation coordinator, who is specially trained to answer your questions, teach you about donation, and help you through the evaluation process.

You will also meet a kidney doctor who will give you a check-up, and a surgeon who will answer any questions that you have about surgery.

A social worker will help you arrange your support network and make sure that you’re prepared mentally and physically for donation and the healing process.

A donor advocate will meet with you too.

The advocate looks out for your best interests before, during, and after donation, and makes sure that you fully understand the process and possible risks. 

We also have other specialists available.

A dietician, a financial coordinator, and a pharmacist to answer any questions.

An EKG, chest x-ray, and blood and urine tests will also be done.

If you need any other tests, we will help you get those too.

If everything looks good so far, you’ll get a CT scan.

The donation team will meet to review your results.

The coordinator will call you and let you know if donation is safe for you.

Only you will be notified, and you can decide if you want to tell anyone else. There’s no obligation to donate, and you can change your mind at any time.

If you decide to go forward with the donation, the coordinator will help you work out a time for surgery that’s convenient for you.

The transplant team is there to help you make your own decision about kidney donation.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all out videos at transplantinfo.com.

How Does Kidney Transplant Matching Work?

How does kidney transplant matching work?

All kinds of people can match each other.

You don’t have to be related, or share the same skin color, or even live in the same country.

Often strangers can be a match.

Let’s look into it.

When you first visit the transplant center, we’ll check your blood type.

Donors and recipients have to be compatible.

There are four different blood types A, B, AB, and O.

A can donate to A or AB.

B can donate to B or AB.

AB can donate to AB.

And O’s to anyone A, B, AB, or O.

It doesn’t matter if the blood type is positive or negative.

If the blood types are not compatible, your donation can still help them get a kidney.

Our video on kidney exchange can show you how.

If the blood types are compatible, we’ll do another test to look for genetic compatibility.

For this test, we’re checking genetic markers.

If the donor and the recipient markers are compatible, then the transplant can take place.

Sometimes people ask how close of a match a donor and a recipient need to be.

The closeness of the match is based on how many of the genetic markers the donor and the recipient have in common.

The more markers they share, the closer the match.

Since transplant medicines are so effective these days, perfect matches are not necessary.

Most recipients have good outcomes regardless of the closeness of the match.

The transplant team is available to answer any questions you have about matching.

And remember, if your blood types are compatible, there’s a good chance you’re a match and the transplant can take place.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all out videos at transplantinfo.com.

What Is Kidney Exchange?

Kidney exchange.

You’ve decided to donate a kidney.

Unfortunately, you’re not a match with your recipient.

Your donation can still help them get a kidney through a kidney exchange.

Let’s see how it works.

You’ve been cleared to donate, but you’re not a match with your recipient.

Another donor wants to help their friend, but they don’t match either.

But you match their recipient, and they match yours.

So, you can swap recipients.

This is what we mean by kidney exchange.

Many times, the donors and recipients are in the same transplant hospital.

In this case everyone can have their surgery at the same hospital, usually on the same day.

However, sometimes there is a donor and recipient pair without a local match.

So, we look for matches farther away.

The operations will take place at the donor and recipient’s local transplant center.

The donated kidneys are put into special travel containers and rushed to the recipient’s transplant center to start a new life.

Transplant specialists across the country have gotten together to organize kidney exchanges and have matched thousands of donors and recipients, so there’s a good chance we will find a match that’s right for you.

The transplant team will help you each step of the way to find the right match and plan the transplant.

So, when a donor and recipient don’t match, a kidney exchange is a great option to help people get a lifesaving kidney.

The transplant center is here to help with all types of donations including kidney exchanges.

For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

Help with Kidney Donation Expenses

Help with Kidney donation expenses.

You’re thinking about donating a kidney to help someone in need.

The financial part of donating is something we can help you with to keep your costs down and make donation possible.

Every transplant center has a financial coordinator who will help you make a plan that’s right for you.

We’ll start working on this together from day one.

Let’s look at the main types of expenses involved.

It’s good to know that your recipient’s insurance pays for the big stuff, from your first evaluation to the donation tests, the surgery, and the hospital stay.

The recipient’s insurance pays for all of this.

You may have to take care of some personal expenses, like transportation, food, and hotel, especially if you live far away.

Childcare and pet sitting might also have to be arranged.

These costs are not covered by insurance, however, there are a lot of great programs that pay for these expenses both for you and a travel companion.

We’ll help get you connected.

You’re going to have to take time off from work while you recover.

Many employers offer paid time off for organ donation.

If yours doesn’t, you can use vacation and sick days.

And some states offer tax credits for donation expenses, including lost wages.

In New York the deduction is up to $10,000 dollars.

The financial part of donation is something to talk about before you decide to donate to someone in need.

Financial coordinators are available at all transplant centers.

They will sit down with you to discuss your options.

We’ll help you find all the funding that you’re eligible for to cover your expenses and protect your financial security throughout the process.

For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

Kidney Donation Day

Kidney donation day.

When you come to the hospital for your surgery, bring your ID, comfortable shoes, and soft, loose-fitting clothing.

Wear glasses instead of contacts.

You can bring your phone but leave other valuables at home.

Bring family and close friends with you too.

A nurse will greet you at reception and help you get settled.

Often the donor and recipient will be getting ready at the same time.

Your friends and family are welcome to stay with both of you.

Your surgeon will check in with you to make sure you are ready to donate.

The anesthesiologist will talk to you about going to sleep for the surgery and will give you relaxing medicines.

After you’re asleep, a small, soft tube will be placed in your bladder to drain your urine.

The surgery is usually done through three dime-sized incisions, and one incision the width of a dollar bill.

Once the kidney is donated, your remaining kidney will easily meet your body’s needs.

When you wake up after surgery, a nurse will be at your bedside.

She will ask how you are feeling and give you medicines to keep you comfortable.

You’ll be able to drink, but you’ll still have an IV to make sure that you stay hydrated.

You’ll be wearing special socks to help with circulation.

The nurse will show you how to keep your lungs strong by taking deep breaths and measuring how big each breath is.

If you need to cough or clear your throat, we’ll show you how to do it comfortably.

After a few hours, you’ll go to your room where friends and family can stay with you.

The day after surgery the nurse will slip the tube out of your bladder, and you’ll be able to urinate as you normally do.

You’ll also be able to eat, but it’s okay if you aren’t very hungry at first, your appetite will come back soon.

You’ll be able to get up and walk around, and we can take you to visit your recipient.

You can usually go home a day or two after the operation.

We’ll be here if you need any help or have any questions, and we’ll see you for a follow-up in a week.

For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

The Kidney Donation Operation

The kidney donation operation.

In this video we’ll show you how we safely remove a kidney for transplantation.

Specially trained surgeons use a procedure called the laparoscopic approach.

Laparoscopic means using small incisions and instruments while being guided by a miniature camera.

This is the most common type of donation surgery and takes about 2 hours.

For the surgery, you’ll be asleep, under general anesthesia, you won’t feel anything.

The surgeon will make three small incisions the width of a dime, and one wider one, the width of a dollar bill. 

An inert gas is passed through one of the incisions to make space for the surgery.

Most people donate their left kidney because it’s easier to transplant.

The kidney has an artery and a vein that allow the kidney to filter your blood and a ureter that carries urine to your bladder.

We triple seal all three and separate.

Then the kidney can be brought out through the wider incision and delivered to the recipients’ surgical team.

The surgeon then double checks their work to be sure that everything looks good.

The incisions are closed with hidden stitches that will absorb after you’re healed.

Your remaining kidney will easily meet your needs and your body will be functioning normally.

You won’t even notice that your donated kidney is not there.

We’ll watch over you to make sure you’re okay.

And you’ll be up and walking the next day.

You should be home in a day or two and back to normal activities in about a month.

And remember, the team is always available if you need any help.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.

Healing at Home After Kidney Donation

Healing at home after kidney donation.

After kidney donation your healing continues at home.

You’ll probably leave the hospital a day or two after surgery.

We’ll give you medication to make you feel comfortable and a check-up will be scheduled in about a week.

Usually, the doctor will clear you for driving at that appointment.

You probably won’t have a lot of energy at first and you should get plenty of rest.

Let friends and family help you with the household chores.

You might not be very hungry either, but your appetite will come back.

Drink lots of fluids and eat when you feel like it.

Try to do a little walking every day.

Even walking upstairs is helpful for recovery.

As you’re feeling better, you can do more activities, but you won’t be ready to lift anything over 10 pounds for about a month.

When you shower, let the water run over your incisions and pat them dry afterwards.

It’s best not to use soap or special lotions on them.

Just let yourself heal naturally.

Avoid swimming, and hot tubs, and taking baths until your incisions are healed.

Many people with desk jobs return to work after a few weeks but most take a month or so before they go back.

Kidney donors usually lead normal, active lives after their recovery.

Your remaining kidney will easily meet your body’s needs.

And there’s no need to follow a special diet or take special medicines.

Within 6 months, the transplant center will arrange for another check-up to make sure you’re feeling fine.

Everyone should see a doctor once a year.

Of course, you can call the transplant center anytime if you have a question.

For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

Lifestyle After Kidney Donation

Lifestyle after kidney donation.

Living a healthy lifestyle is important for everyone, especially for kidney donors.

Living donors are only selected if they are in good physical condition to donate.

Most go on to live long full lives and do the things they want to do.

There’s no need to follow a special diet or take special medicines.

You shouldn’t notice any change in your physical health, but here are some things you can do to take the best possible care of your remaining kidney.

All of us should get a check-up every year including donors.

Always let your doctor know that you’ve donated a kidney.

Sometimes people develop high blood pressure over time, whether they’ve donated or not.

If it happens to you, it can be reduced with medicines to keep your kidney healthy.

We all have occasional aches and pains or sometimes take over-the-counter pain medications.

Acetaminophen, also known as Tylenol, is the safest option for kidneys.

Physical exercise is good for you, and it’s important to maintain a healthy weight.

Most donors go back to doing all the sports they were doing before donation.

If you participate in football, boxing, hockey, martial arts, or other contact sports, wear protective gear such as padded vests under your clothing to help protect the kidney.

Since all donors are carefully considered and are cleared only if they are healthy enough, over 99.9% of donors have excellent results.

There have been some cases in which donors needed a kidney later.

This is extremely rare and not necessarily due to the donation itself.

Kidney donors get priority on the waiting list to get a kidney as soon as it is needed.

Over the long-term donors are generally healthy and go back to their normal active lives.

For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

Common Issues After Kidney Donation

Common issues after kidney donation.

Most donors want to know common issues they might have after kidney donation.

We’ll be in touch with you throughout the entire recovery process to make sure you’re kept comfortable, and you get back to your usual life as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Here’s a few things to know about the healing process.

In the hospital after surgery, all kidney donors will have some discomfort.

We’ll give you medications to keep you comfortable.

Everyone’s needs are different so the nurse will talk to you and adjust your medicines as needed.

As with any other surgery, some discomfort is due to bloating.

If this is the case, walking is the best thing to do to help pass the gas.

As each day passes, you should feel better and be able to use less pain medication.

You should be going home from the hospital in a day or two.

As you recover at home, you might feel great one day and accomplish a lot but then feel tired the next.

It’s normal for your energy levels to fluctuate. 

It just means you overdid it a bit and weren’t quite ready for so much activity.

Get the rest you need and pace yourself.

Increase your activities slowly until you are back to your usual way of life.

Donors heal at different rates.

Some bounce back quickly and others take more time.

After surgery you may have back pain.

This is usually because you are carrying yourself differently to keep your incision from feeling sore.

As your incision continues to heal, you’ll be able to relax, and your back should get better.

Once the incisions are healed, you might still have some odd feelings like tingling, numbness or tenderness.

This is part of the normal healing process and usually gets better over time.

Donating is not only a physical gift, it’s an emotional one too, and you might have some ups and downs.

We want you to know that we are here for you.

You can always talk to us about how you’re doing physically and emotionally.

We’ll be in touch with you through the entire recovery process.

Although rare, donating a kidney may have some complications and we will go over these with you before you decide to donate.

Around 6000 people each year choose to become living kidney donors. 

Most donors say their experience was excellent and they would do it again if they could.

For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

Possible Complications of Kidney Donation Surgery

Possible complications ofkidney donation surgery.

You want to donate a kidney but you’re not sure how safe it is.

The kidney donation surgery has an excellent safety record.

This is because donors are thoroughly tested for kidney function, heart and lung health, and blood pressure, among other things.

The results are carefully reviewed by a team of experts and to ensure donor safety only those that are healthy enough are able to donate.

Most donation surgeries are done laparoscopically through small incisions with miniature instruments, which shortens the healing time.

We are always prepared to switch to an open surgical method if we feel that’s what’s best for you and the kidney.

An open method means a bigger incision and a little longer healing time.

In the unlikely event of surgical bleeding, a blood transfusion may be needed, and we’ll have your blood type standing by just in case.

Although it’s rare, some donors get blood clots in their veins.

We take steps to prevent this.

We’ll give you compression socks and a blood thinner to help with circulation.

Walking helps prevent blood clots too.

You’ll be ready to get up and move the day after surgery.

If you get a blood clot, we will take care of it by giving you a blood thinner pill to take at home for 3 to 6 months.

Developing a hernia in the incision area is uncommon.

If you get a hernia, you might feel a bulge under your skin.

A hernia happens when the internal incision doesn’t heal right.

To prevent a hernia, you should avoid lifting anything heavier than 10 pounds for a month.

And we will give you stool softeners to keep you from straining.

If you happen to get a hernia, it can be repaired with surgery.

If you’re wondering how complications are paid for, the recipients’ insurance pays for early complications.

And if the recipient has Medicare, donor related complications are covered for the rest of your life.

Our financial coordinator is here to help you before and after surgery.

The team will ensure that you’ve been thoroughly tested and are in the best of health before surgery, so that complications are unlikely.

All surgeries carry the risk of death, but it’s extremely rare in kidney donation.

We are dedicated to the safety of our donors and recipients, and we are here for you before, during, and after your donation.

Since 1954, over 150 thousand people in the US have donated a kidney and most say they would do it again if they could.

For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

How to Help Someone Who Needs a Kidney

How to help someone who needs a kidney.

You want to help someone who needs a kidney, but you’re not sure donation is right for you.

If you’re unsure about being a donor, you can learn more by calling the transplant center.

We can answer any questions and schedule a free confidential visit for you.

Our staff can help you explore your thoughts and feelings about being a donor.

We can also connect you with people who have already donated so you can talk to them about their experience.

If donation is not right for you, there are many other important ways you can show support.

You could spread the word that they need a kidney.

Sometimes people with kidney failure aren’t comfortable telling others about their situation, so having someone like you get the word out can make a big difference.

You can reach a lot of people with everyday conversation, social media, and even billboards and ads.

To help you spread the word, we can connect you with great resources.

You never know who might want to donate.

Another way you can help is to be there after the transplant.

You could be a caregiver or support person.

Having a good support team of family and friends makes a big difference in the recipients’ success.

After surgery, they’ll need help getting settled at home.

They’ll need support to monitor their health, including blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and weight.

They’ll also need help with grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, and childcare while they recover.

Going to follow up appointments is important too.

You can be an extra set of ears and ask questions to learn about the kidney care program and how to help.

No matter how you want to show your support, we’re here to assist you.

For more information, visit transplantinfo.com or give your local center a call.

Caregivers Make Transplant Possible

Caregivers make transplant possible.

Jill and Maria had been friends for years and Jill knew that Maria hadn’t been feeling well lately.

But was surprised when Maria said that her kidneys were failing and she would need a transplant.

Jill asked right away how she could help.

Maria said that she had an appointment at a transplant center and they told her to bring a friend.

So, Jill offered to go with her.

They met with the transplant coordinator and Jill found out that there were many ways she could help.

Jill helped Maria organize her calendar and made sure that she had rides to her appointments.

Maria was interested in trying to find a living kidney donor.

And Jill helped her get the word out to family and friends.

After Maria got listed, Jill made sure that she got her blood tests every month to stay on the list.

The wait for a kidney was hard on Maria, but having a friend like Jill to talk to was comforting.

The day came when Maria got her transplant.

And when it was time for her to be released from the hospital, Jill arrived early, and they both learned what to expect when she got home and how to take care of the incision.

Jill would go with Maria to appointments for the next month.

Jill also organized a team to make sure Maria could recover comfortably.

A nephew did some shopping to make sure Maria had healthy foods to eat and offered to clean up around the house.

A friend of theirs took care of the yard work and offered to drive Maria to some of the appointments.

Jill made sure all the prescriptions were filled and the pillbox was organized.

Caregivers should remember that it’s important to take care of themselves during these busy times.

No matter how you want to show your support for a transplant patient, we’re here to assist you.

Thanks for watching.

You can get more information and see all our videos at transplantinfo.com.




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