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Transplant from a donor who has died

What is a kidney transplant?

icon for kidney transplant from live donor

A kidney transplant is a surgery where doctors take 1 kidney out of someone else and put it into your body. With 1 working kidney, you can live longer and more comfortably than using dialysis.

Not everyone is healthy enough to get a kidney transplant. The transplant center in your area can help you find out if you are healthy enough. If you can’t get a transplant at one transplant center, try applying to others. Different transplant centers accept different patients.

The donor kidney can come from someone:

  • Who is alive and chooses to donate their kidney (a living donor)
  • Who has died and previously chose to donate their organs (a deceased donor)

This section is about getting a kidney from someone who has died. Doctors call this a deceased donor transplant.

The transplant team

icon for kidney transplant from live donor

Your transplant team is the group of people who give you care, education, and support through the whole transplant process from before you are on the waitlist until after your surgery. Get to know your team’s names and contact information so you can get their help when you need it. Your team at the transplant center includes:

Transplant surgeon

A doctor who will look at your test results to find out if a transplant is a good option for you. This doctor also performs transplant surgeries

Transplant nephrologist

A doctor who focuses on kidney disease, and who will help you care for your kidneys before and after transplant

Transplant coordinator

Usually a nurse, who will be your main contact and will work with you and other members of your transplant team to manage your care

Social workers

Trained professionals who can help you and your family find resources, including making a financial plan and coping with the emotional and social challenges that can come with your illness


A person who helps you learn what to eat before and after your transplant to keep a healthy weight, have less problems with the medicine, and have a better transplant outcome

Financial coordinator

A person who helps you figure out the costs of your transplant, your insurance, and how you can afford any costs your insurance doesn’t cover

Medical assistant

A trained technician who supports other healthcare staff on your team


A trained professional who will help you understand which medicines you have to take after surgery to stay healthy and keep your body from rejecting the kidney

Psychologist or psychiatrist

This doctor will help take care of your mental health before and after surgery and give you the help you need to deal with the emotional or mental challenges of a new kidney.

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