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Kidney Transplant Waiting List

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Please call the Transplant Institute at 210-567-5777 for more information.

Kidney Transplant Waiting List

Prepare for kidney transplant surgery while you are on the waiting list with advice from University Health experts.

Waiting for a Transplant

Placement on the national waiting list—managed by United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and supervised by the federal government—helps ensure that patients across the U.S. receive healthy organs as they become available. UNOS maintains a centralized computerized network to link organ procurement organizations with transplant centers.

Average Kidney Wait Time

Count on waiting an average of six years for a kidney at most centers. In some areas of the country, the wait could be longer.

Kidney Matching

When a kidney becomes available, certain factors determine if you will receive it. For example:

  • Blood type – You must have the same A, B, AB or O blood type as the deceased donor
  • Tissue type (genetic matching) – You are more likely to receive the organ if you and the donor are a perfect match.
  • Crossmatch – You must not have antibodies against the donor organ that could cause rejection

While You’re on the Waiting List

Use your waiting period to prepare for transplant surgery. Make sure to:

  • Arrange transportation and housing in advance
  • Attend a pre-transplant class at University Health
    • Keep in touch with your transplant team
    • Notify us of any changes in telephone, address or insurance
    • Let us know if you’re going out of town and how to reach you
    • Have a family member tell us if you’re admitted or discharged from the hospital, or if you have a blood transfusion
  • Pack a bag for the hospital or have a list ready of what to pack
  • Put together a transportation plan with a designated driver to the hospital, and have a backup driver
  • Schedule annual dental exams
  • Stay as healthy as you can

Self-Care While Waiting

Maintain your best quality of life while waiting by combining good nutrition with exercise. Continue to see your doctor or specialist as needed.


Be as active as you can while you wait for a kidney transplant. Walking is the best exercise to maintain your health and fitness. Work up to walking for 30 minutes, three times each week. Being in good physical condition supports a quicker, smoother recovery from surgery.

Mental Health

Lead a normal life during the waiting period. Although it can be a difficult time for you, honest communication with your family members can help reduce frustration and tension.

If you or your family have trouble coping emotionally during your wait, seek help from a local mental health professional or contact your transplant social worker.


Count on your transplant dietitian to give you general nutritional advice and suggest strategies to manage your symptoms. Following a healthy diet before transplant surgery means you may have fewer complications, spend less time on a ventilator after surgery and have a shorter recovery time.

Emergency Care

Call 911 if you have a life-threatening emergency while waiting for a transplant. Do not try to drive to University Health. Ask the emergency room doctors to consult with your University Health transplant team.

MyChart Patient Portal

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What to Pack

Pack a small suitcase or bag to take to the hospital with you. You’ll need:

  • Copy of your health care directive or living will
  • Essential phone numbers of family and friends
  • List of your conditions or past surgeries
  • List of medications you currently take
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Sleepwear, shoes/slippers, robe
  • Do not bring money, credit cards, jewelry or other valuables. We do not allow plants, pets and children under 14 years of age.