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ChristianaCare

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Kidney Transplant Program

Frequently Asked Questions About Kidney Transplant

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How much does a kidney transplant cost?
Does my health insurance pay for my kidney transplant?
What kind of out-of-pocket expenses should I prepare to pay?
What if I don’t have money to pay for my out-of-pocket expenses?
What are the risks of having a kidney transplant?
What is the average waiting time to get a kidney transplant from a deceased donor?
Am I eligible for a kidney transplant if I am not on dialysis?
Can I put my name on the list for a kidney transplant at more than one transplant center?
Can I have a child after a kidney transplant?
Can I resume normal activities after the kidney transplant?
What medication will I take after my kidney transplant?
Will I need dialysis after kidney transplant surgery?

How much does a kidney transplant cost?

The cost of a kidney transplant varies. Factors affecting the cost include the type of kidney donor and the number of days you are in the hospital. You are not billed directly for the kidney transplant. Private insurance and Medicare typically cover most of the hospital-related expenses.

Does my health insurance pay for my kidney transplant?

Check with your insurance company. Some policies dictate where you can get a kidney transplant. Not all policies cover all hospitals.

What kind of out-of-pocket expenses should I prepare to pay?

Insurance policies typically include co-pays for hospital stays and doctor visits. You must take time off of work for the kidney transplant, so budget money to cover the time you do not receive a paycheck. If you do not live near our transplant center, you must pay for transportation to and from ChristianaCare and meals while you are away from home. Also expect to make co-payments for medications.

What if I don’t have money to pay for my out-of-pocket expenses?

A social worker helps address financial needs before the kidney transplant. Generally we encourage patients to raise money or find other options to deal with these needs.

What are the risks of having a kidney transplant?

After you have a kidney transplant, you take medications as long as the transplanted kidney is functioning. Possible side effects from the medications include diabetes, hair loss and a slight increase in the risk for skin cancer. Overall, you may be more at risk for infections, but the physicians closely monitor you for any side effects.

What is the average waiting time to get a kidney transplant from a deceased donor?

The wait time varies from region to region. In our region, the wait time is typically three to five years, depending on your blood type.

Am I eligible for a kidney transplant if I am not on dialysis?

You do not have to be on dialysis to get your name on the list for a kidney transplant. To be eligible for a kidney transplant, your kidney function can be no more than 20 percent of normal.

Can I put my name on the list for a kidney transplant at more than one kidney transplant center?

Yes, you may list with two or more kidney transplant centers if they are not in the same region. ChristianaCare’s region includes Delaware, Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. You also may transfer your waiting time from one center to another without penalty.

Can I have a child after a kidney transplant?

Women of child-bearing age should wait one to two years after a kidney transplant before trying to conceive. This wait helps make you stronger and healthier for pregnancy and childbirth. Some kidney transplant medications might adversely affect fetal development, so you may need to have some of your medications changed or altered by your physicians. You cannot breastfeed, because kidney transplant medications can be passed to your baby through breast milk.

Can I resume normal activities after the kidney transplant?

You will be tired the first few weeks after surgery, but this fatigue improves with time. You can resume regular activities, such as walking and going to the store, within one to two weeks.

What medication will I take after my kidney transplant?

You will take medications to prevent your body from rejecting your transplanted kidney, as well as to prevent ulcers and infections. You will take these medications every day, sometimes as often as three to four times a day. You will take these medications for as long as you have the transplanted kidney, but in greater quantity for the first few months after the transplant. If you were taking medicines for any medical problems before the transplant, including a heart condition or to control your blood pressure or cholesterol, you will continue to take them.

Will I need dialysis after kidney transplant surgery?

Most transplant recipients do not need dialysis after surgery because their new kidney functions immediately or within a few days. In cases where kidney function is delayed, dialysis may be necessary until the organ begins working. Temporary dialysis after kidney transplant tends to be more common when the kidney comes from a deceased donor.