Your child will undergo a comprehensive evaluation with our pediatric transplant team before a kidney transplant is recommended. The day-long assessment will include meetings with doctors, nurses, a social worker, a financial counselor, and others, as well as blood work and other medical tests. We will consider several factors during your child’s evaluation, for example, kidney function, compliance with medications, and availability of caregivers.
Depending on your child’s specific needs, they may have one or more of the following tests.
- Blood tests for blood type, kidney and liver function, and more
- Imaging studies including a chest X-ray, renal ultrasound, EKG, and an echocardiogram
- An infection screening for hepatitis, HIV, tuberculosis, and other infections
- A psychological assessment
- A dental exam to check for infections
They may also have appointments with specialists -- for example, a urologist -- for additional testing and assessment of their underlying kidney condition.
If you want to make an appointment for a pediatric kidney transplant evaluation for your child, please contact us. Our team can help with next steps.
The Committee’s Decision
After the transplant team has collected the information it needs, our pediatric selection committee will decide whether kidney transplant is the best option for your child. Your transplant coordinator will share the outcome with you. There are three decisions that the committee can make:
- Kidney transplant is a good option for your child. The committee recommends moving forward with the transplant process.
- There is more to learn about your child. The committee will request more meetings or tests before making a decision.
- Kidney transplant is not appropriate for your child at this time. This could be for many reasons, for instance, a body mass index (BMI) over 35, uncontrolled hyperparathyroidism, or not having two reliable caregivers.
Kidney transplant surgery is performed at Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center. Pre- and post-transplant appointments take place at our kidney transplant clinic within Duke Children's.
If Your Child Is a Candidate
If the committee decides that a kidney transplant is the best option:
- Your financial coordinator will work with your health insurance to seek approval for the procedure.
- Your doctor will talk with you about the types of kidney transplants available to your child and how to stay healthy -- for example, by getting all required vaccines and taking prescribed medications -- while they wait for transplant.
- Your child will have a blood test called HLA (human leukocyte antigen) typing to help find the best donor match. The more antigens (proteins) that match between your child and the donor, the lower the chance for organ rejection. This is true for both living donor and deceased donor transplants.
- Your child will be placed on the UNOS national waiting list for kidney transplantation.
Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is proud to be nationally ranked in nine pediatric specialties.