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Before the transplant

Each person’s journey of transplantation is unique. Some people wait for extended periods of time, hoping for the day when they get the call that an organ is available. Others come to transplant with a capable living donor and move quickly to surgery and life with their new organ. No matter the circumstances, here’s what you can expect when your doctor recommends that you are evaluated for a transplant and refers you to a transplant center.

José, heart transplant recipient, with his sister, Alejandra Read more >

The transplant process includes multiple steps

Step 1, evaluation

Step 1: Evaluation

The medical team at your transplant center evaluates you and will decide whether you are a good transplant candidate. Each hospital has their own criteria for accepting candidates for transplant.

Step 2, waitlist

Step 2: Waitlist

If the transplant team decides that you are a good transplant candidate, you’ll be registered on the national organ transplant waiting list. A living donor may also be identified and evaluated for living donation.

Step 3, get support

Step 3: Get support

Organize your support system. You’ll need someone to take care of you after the transplant. Work with your transplant team’s financial coordinator to develop a plan to cover transplant costs.

Step 4, the wait

Step 4: The wait

Waiting times vary widely and depend on the type of organ you need, your unique medical criteria and how many donors are available in your local area compared to the number of patients waiting.

Step 5, Transplant

Step 5: Transplant

Always answer your phone! If and when you get “the call,” you’ll need to be at the hospital within a certain window of time. Be ready for medical tests and possibly a long wait for surgery.

Step 6, care

Step 6: Care

Your medical team manages your post-transplant care. They will help you understand the medications you must take to take care of your transplant.

Understanding the pre-transplant process

If you or a loved one are in need of an organ transplant, you’re sure to have questions. To get started, read the UNOS patient information letter to understand important resources and services provided by the national transplant network.

In addition, throughout this website, we have provided comprehensive content to answer all of your questions throughout your organ transplant journey. The following sections will help you and your family learn more about the pre-transplant process so that you can know what to expect:

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