The first step in the transplant process is evaluation: the transplant team evaluates your condition and decides if you’re a good candidate for a transplant. Our team includes:
- Transplant surgeons
- An organ specialist
- A psychiatrist
- A social worker
- Transplant coordinators
- Other healthcare professionals
Usually within a week after you’re referred to us, a transplant coordinator will call you to discuss the evaluation process and set up your appointments. We’ll also do a preliminary financial and insurance coverage assessment.
For the evaluation, you’ll visit Strong Hospital twice, both times as an outpatient. During your first visit, you’ll have a number of diagnostic tests. You’ll have blood drawn and x-rays taken and you’ll be tested for blood type and other matching factors that determine whether your body will accept an available organ. During the second visit, you’ll talk to the transplant team about your test results. (The second visit is usually a week or two after the first, but the whole evaluation process can be completed within 12-48 hours for a critically ill person.) We strongly urge you to bring one or two other people, who will become your support system, to all meetings.
Among other things, the tests will show if you have complications or conditions that might adversely affect your surgery. Cancer, a serious infection, or significant cardiovascular disease would make transplantation unlikely to succeed. In addition, the team will want to make sure that you can understand and follow the schedule for taking medicines. If problems are found, you may be referred to the appropriate specialists at the University of Rochester Medical Center who can deal with them. You’ll also talk to a financial counselor about insurance and other ways covering the costs of the transplant and follow-up care.
After the evaluation, the results are given to the Organ Transplant Patient Evaluation and Selection Committee, which uses the Patient Selection Criteria and Implementation Plan to decide if you’re a suitable candidate for an organ transplant.
If you don’t become a transplant candidate, the transplant team will support your primary care doctor, as appropriate, in managing your disease. If you do become a candidate, you’ll be put on the waiting list for a donated organ unless you have a living donor willing to donate an organ to you. If you have a living donor, the transplant surgery can be scheduled immediately.