Preparatory examination

As a potential donor you will visit our outpatient department several, but at least three, times. We try to combine the various examinations as much as possible, so that your travel time is reduced to a minimum.

It is important for you to know that the nurse specialist and the transplantation doctor only occupy themselves with the preparation of you as a potential donor. They are not involved in the preparation of the recipient. So they come up with an independent assessment. That also means that all information you give to us is dealt with confidentially and is never passed on to a third party. The donor team consists of a transplantation nephrologist, a nurse specialist, a social worker and the transplantation surgeon.

If during the preparation stage you should decide not to donate, that is of course always possible. If you have any questions you may always contact the 'life kidney donation’ (nierdonatie bij leven) coordinator via telephone number 071-5298992.

First visit: informative consultation and tissue typing

If you consider to donate a kidney, after your registration you will be invited to an extensive and informative consultation without any obligation at the outpatient department. During the first visit the nurse specialist informs you about all aspects of this type of transplantation. He or she discusses your motivation with you, but also the operation preparation procedure and the possibility to share experiences with other donors.

During this visit we also perform an extensive tissue typing. These data are required to assess whether transplantation using a donor kidney is possible. During a direct donation you may give a kidney to your recipient if the blood type matches and the cross-matching is negative. Even if there is no (direct) match, there are still possibilities, such as ‘blood type incompatible’ transplantation. It always pays to see if you are eligible for a special programme.

More information about blood type incompatible transplantation or positive cross-matching.

Second visit: examination day in preparation of the kidney donation

If we decide on the basis of the medical information that you are preferred as a potential donor and you stick to your decision, we call you up for the examination day. Please find below a brief description of the examination day at the outpatient department and how you have to prepare for it.

Beforehand

It is the idea that at home you collect urine for three (not necessarily consecutive) days for 24 hours in special flasks. This urine is sent to a laboratory to define the waste quantity. This provides information about your kidney function.

We recommend that you eat protein-rich food during the week before the 24-hour urine collection. In this way we can properly establish the capacity of the remaining kidney. We recommend that you drink or eat for instance milk, yoghurt, custard (vla), beef steak and egg.

The examination day

During the examination day at the outpatient department your blood and urine will be tested. We also take an ECG, a chest X-ray and an MRI or CT scan of the kidneys and blood vessels.

What is a CT scan?

CT is an examination method making use of X-rays and contrast media. It serves to get an impression of the shape, size and function of both kidneys and their blood vessels. Normally, a kidney has one artery, one vein and one ureter (outlet to the bladder). However, sometimes kidneys have more than one artery or vein. It is in that case up to the surgeon to assess whether donation is still possible. One hour before the CT scan you are expected at the X-ray department. You will have to drink one litre of water. To carry out this examination, you are also put on an intravenous drip with an iodine-containing contrast medium. People who know they are allergic to iodine-containing contrast media or iodine have to inform the nurse specialist beforehand.

You also have to take home a 24-hour blood pressure monitor so that your blood pressure can be monitored for a longer period of time. On this day you also have an in-depth meeting with the social worker about the psychological and social and financial aspects of the kidney donation.

Third visit: extensive medical examination

The examination takes place at the outpatient department of the Kidney Center. Here too, the examining doctor only looks after your interests and not those of the intended recipient. As stated before, we have opted for this approach to offer you the freedom to express all your possible second thoughts or objections to the doctor.

On the same day you will have an appointment with a transplantation surgeon, a transplantation nephrologist and an anaesthetist. They discuss with you the results of the blood and urine tests, the CT scan and X-rays. The nephrologist assesses the risk of losing the kidney function after the donation, the risk of hereditary or communicable diseases and your condition for the operation. The surgeon assesses whether you are fit for the operation. Not only your condition is of importance, but also any secondary afflictions and how your kidneys look on the CT scan. The surgeon discusses with you the available operation techniques. If you have any questions this is a good moment to discuss them. The anaesthetist will examine you for the anaesthetic.

How can you prepare?

It is very likely that you have questions about your three visits to the LUMC. We recommend you write them down beforehand. This prevents you from forgetting to ask important questions.

Take a recent medication list with you, so that the doctor knows exactly which medication you take. If you are not sure what you take, you can pick up a medication list from your pharmacy.

Don’t come by yourself, bring someone to support you and think along with you.

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