Organs are distributed based upon medical information like blood type, tissues type, time on the waiting list and other factors. This information is stored in a national computer network operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
Organs are distributed based upon patient need, availability and medical criteria. It is illegal to distribute organs based on non-medical information such as wealth, citizenship or celebrity status.
There are a number of tests that will be performed and repeated for anyone who is being considered for an organ transplant. These evaluations reveal your overall health and help your transplant team determine if transplantation is right for you. Some or all of the following tests - and possibly more - may be required by your transplant team.
- Blood tests are conducted to rule out certain infectious diseases and provide information such as various blood cell counts, blood typing, kidney and liver function, the presence of viruses and/or antibodies to viruses, and your immune system activity.
- A chest x-ray will help determine the health of your lungs.
- Imaging scans can show the size and shape of the kidneys and major blood vessels.
- Electrocardiogram (EKG) shows heart function and reveals any past damage.
- Urinalysis can detect and measure cells and substances that may indicate disease or infection.
- Pulmonary function tests measure how well your lungs are working and the ability of your blood to carry oxygen.
- Interviews with a transplant social worker, a psychiatrist and a transplant nurse coordinator may be required to confirm your eligibility for transplant.
Most of the tests and interviews you will undergo are performed to help your transplant team decide how best to increase your chances of achieving the most successful results from your kidney transplant.