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Kidney Transplant Selection Qualifications

Physician comforting a patient There are several kidney transplant qualifications used by Tampa General Hospital’s Kidney Transplant Program to determine which patients are eligible to receive a transplant and which patients may be better served by other approaches. The most important of the transplant qualifications is irreversible kidney failure; adults and children with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) or stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) may be evaluated for transplant. In certain situations, patients who have been diagnosed with stage 4 CKD may also be potential transplant recipients. Not every patient who meets the basic kidney transplant qualifications will be considered for transplant. Our kidney transplant program recognizes many contraindications, or factors that can keep a patient from receiving a new kidney. Absolute contraindications include:
  • Being older than 80
  • Having uncontrolled psychiatric disorders
  • Testing positive for HIV
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Having cancer
  • Having severe, irreversible cardiac or peripheral diseases, such as severe cardiomyopathy with an ejection fraction of less than 25 percent
  • Lacking the social or financial support necessary to complete the surgery or the subsequent recovery and ongoing care
  • Being obese, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 40
  • Having a history of medical non-compliance without reasonable justifications
  • Having uncontrolled or untreated hypertension

Additionally, there are relative contraindications that may restrict a patient from receiving a kidney transplant, depending on the patient’s particular circumstances and degree of illness. For example, highly sensitized patients who have high antibody levels or who are nonresponsive to desensitization treatments may or may not be accepted into our program. Some other relative contraindications include:

  • Chronic or active untreated infections
  • Cancer within the past two to five years
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Active immunologic disorders that may affect the graft
  • A non-functional or non-intact urinary tract that lacks a viable diversion
  • Active Hepatitis B or C infection
  • BMI between 35 and 40

Although our program does rely on the kidney transplant qualifications and contraindications outlined above, we examine each case on an individual basis so that we can best serve each patient. Potential transplant candidates must be referred by a physician - who will submit a completed kidney transplant referral form to recommend a patient for evaluation by our team.