SW Transplant Centre - Changing lives through medical care

SW Transplant

Going down the pathway to receive a kidney from a deceased donor


What is a deceased donor?

Someone who has died and who has donated his or her organs to help people who need transplants. The decision to donate has been made by the donor in life and agreed by the family.

The generosity of donors and their families enables nearly 3,000 people in the UK every year to take on a new lease of life.

How will I get the right kidney?

Finding the right kidney is rather like finding the right partner in life; the more people you have to choose from, the more likely you are to find someone with the right match. This is where a national organisation called NHS-BT (Blood and Transplant) (previously called UK Transplant) comes in. They act like a matching agency and keep a secure database of all people in the UK who are waiting for organ transplants. This includes names, addresses and, most importantly, their tissue types. Whenever a kidney donor becomes available anywhere in the country, they are informed and their staff, who work round the clock, search the database for the person whose tissue type has the closest match to the donor. They immediately inform that person’s local Transplant Centre who set the wheels in motion for him or her to come into hospital for the transplant operation.

As soon as you have decided to go for a kidney transplant, your name and details will be added to this database. Then begins the wait. It could be weeks; it could be years; but always remember, the system is designed to find you the best kidney. The average waiting time in the UK is around three years at the moment.

While you are on the waiting list, you will also have to attend the Transplant Assessment Clinic for regular blood tests to check your antibodies, as they can change after an infection or blood transfusion. It is important that your file in the database is kept up to date to offer you the right kidney.

Once on the transplant waiting list it is best to try and get on with your life as normal.

As deceased donor kidneys can be offered any time of the day it is best to make necessary arrangements for this. Remember to keep a bag packed for hospital stay. Make sure the transplant centre have your contact numbers. Put your employer in the picture as you might be away for some time after your operation. Let relatives and carers know about the possibility of being called at short notice. Care might have to be arranged for loved ones you are looking after.

Let the Transplant Centre know if you are going away on holiday or travelling so no time is wasted in trying to contact you while you are away.

Sarah's Story

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