Before Your Child's Kidney Transplant

Getting ready for a pediatric kidney transplant can be overwhelming for both parents and children.

Knowing what to expect and staying in contact with your child's care team can help ease some of this stress.

What to Expect During Your Child's Pre-Transplant Testing and Exams

You can expect to spend two full days at our transplant center during your child's pre-transplant visit. Your child will have many tests.

Tests your child may need before a kidney transplant include:

Your child's care team will do a complete physical exam to make sure we know all about your child's health. We'll also look for any issues that may need surgery to correct.

Many children in kidney failure have problems with their renal system. We may need to fix these problems with surgery, either before or during your child's kidney transplant.

Your Child's Kidney Transplant Team

You and your child will see some of these team members during your pre-transplant visit:

  • Transplant coordinator — your main point of contact throughout your child's kidney transplant journey. He or she will answer any questions and coordinate all aspects of your child's care, including keeping your child's personal doctor informed.
  • Nephrologist — the kidney specialist.
  • Transplant surgeon — performs your child's kidney transplant.
  • Dietitian — gives advice and tips on proper nutrition to keep your child healthy while waiting for a kidney.
  • Social worker — helps with non-medical needs, such as transportation, accommodations near the hospital, and details on support groups.
  • Psychologist — helps prepare you and your child for the challenges this journey can bring.
  • Child life specialist — helps your child understand new experiences and feelings that may occur before, during, and after a transplant.
  • Pharmacist — provides the medicines your child needs during the kidney transplant process.

What to Do While You Wait for Your Child's Kidney

It's vital that your child stays as healthy as possible after the pre-transplant exams and tests.

Here's what you should do while you and your child wait for a kidney:

  • Tell your transplant coordinator about any changes in your child's health, including fever or infections.
  • Make sure you're always reachable by phone. If you travel, inform your transplant coordinator. Also, give your transplant coordinator contact info for others who can reach you right away.
  • Make sure your child has any further tests if needed.
  • Follow the advice of your child's dietitian.
  • Help keep your child from getting sick. Avoid anyone who is sick. Wash your child's and your hands often. Stay away from large crowds.
  • Always reach out to our team if you or your child need support or have questions.

When a Kidney is Ready

If a donor kidney becomes available that may be a match for your child, your transplant coordinator will call you right away. You should get to the hospital as soon as you can.

While you and your child are on the way, your transplant team will assess the donor kidney. They'll make sure the kidney is healthy, and that it's a good match for your child.

Learn More About Pediatric Kidney Transplant

From our health library

From the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)

Contact the Kidney Transplant Program at UPMC Children's

If you have questions, concerns, or unexpected needs about your child's kidney transplant, contact our team at 412-692-5182.