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Kidney Transplantation Procedure Information

Couple out for a walkYou’ll receive a call from Tampa General Hospital regarding your kidney transplantation procedure as soon as a suitable kidney becomes available. Our transplant donor coordinator may call you at any time, so you should always be ready to answer your phone. You should also provide the coordinator with the phone numbers of family members and friends to ensure that we can always contact you. During this call, you will discuss your current health status and your future course of action with the coordinator. You will be asked to report to the hospital and to take steps to prepare for your kidney transplantation procedure, such as:

  • Stopping all eating and drinking
  • Reviewing your medications and asking whether you should continue taking them
  • Packing the items that you’ll need for your trip to and stay at the hospital (charged cell phone, transplant handbook, etc.)
  • Asking a family member or friend to drive you to TGH as soon as possible

We will inform the admissions department that you are on your way, so as soon as you are checked in, you and your family will be guided to your pre-operative room. There, you will undergo blood tests and other preparations for your kidney transplantation procedure. When you are ready for surgery, you will be taken to the operating room and your family will be directed to a waiting room, where our surgical staff will update them on your status. The kidney transplantation procedure should take between three and six hours, and when you wake up, you will be in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). You will notice that you have several tubes placed in your body; these will include:

  • An endotracheal tube that will help you breathe
  • A urinary catheter that will keep your bladder drained
  • A nasogastric tube that will empty your stomach

Additionally, you will have several intravenous lines that will be used to check fluid pressures within your body and to administer medications, fluids, and blood transfusions. As you recover from your kidney transplantation procedure, your transplant team will give you medications to relax you and control your pain. You will be moved to a private room in the transplant unit once your condition has stabilized and you can breathe on your own. A family member will be allowed to stay overnight with you in this room, unless any medical issues prohibit it.

However, visits from children under 12 aren’t allowed within the transplant unit because kidney transplant surgery patients are especially susceptible to infection. If necessary, your care team can arrange a meeting with a child in an adjacent unit. In total, you can expect to spend about seven days at TGH recuperating from your kidney transplantation procedure – although you may need to stay longer depending on how your body accepts the new organ. During this time you will visited by your surgeons and care team every day, and they will check how your body is accepting the kidney by performing blood tests and X-rays.

You and your support person(s) will also need to participate in educational sessions about the nutrition and medication requirements you’ll need to follow for the rest of your life. Plus, you will learn how to take your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and other lab values and record them in your transplant log. You will be asked to bring this information to every clinic visit following your kidney transplantation procedure.