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TGH & Lee Health Collaborate to Offer Comprehensive Care to Kidney Transplant Patients in the Fort Myers Area

Thanks to a partnership between Tampa General Hospital and Lee Health, kidney transplant patients in Southwest Florida can receive comprehensive pre- and post-transplant care from TGH physicians close to home. The Tampa General Hospital Transplant Institute at Lee Health offers transplant surgery at Tampa General Hospital’s outstanding facilities in Tampa. However, patients in the program are able to go through all of their pre-transplant care in Fort Myers and, following surgery, can transition back to Fort Myers for follow-up care after a short recovery period in Tampa. This provides an exceptional level of convenience for patients who would rather stay close to home while receiving care from TGH’s transplant physicians.

Understanding Kidney Transplant Surgery

Healthy kidneys filter waste products from the blood. An individual with advanced kidney failure may require a kidney transplant procedure to obtain a new kidney from a suitable donor. There are a variety of underlying conditions that can lead to kidney failure, including consistent high blood pressure, acute kidney injury, diabetes, polycystic kidney disease, renovascular diseases, and others. Tampa General Hospital performs transplant procedures using kidneys from both living and deceased donors, and we also participate in the National Kidney Registry, which pairs transplant patients with donors of the same blood type.

TGH is a recognized leader among solid organ transplant centers and has performed more than 10,000 organ transplants with shorter wait times and world-class outcomes. Plus, our kidney transplant program is ranked #3 in the nation by volume, making us one of the busiest centers in the country. We performed our first living donor kidney transplant in 1974, and we are proud to be ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Hospitals for Nephrology for 2020-21. Our care team provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary care for both adult and pediatric kidney transplant patients.

Pre- & Post-Transplant Care

Potential transplant patients receiving care from the TGH Transplant Institute at Lee Health will participate in a thorough evaluation from our physicians and transplant team members in Fort Myers to determine if a transplant procedure is the best course of action for their condition. Patients who meet our kidney transplant selection criteria and guidelines will then undergo a variety of pre-transplant tests, including:

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays and scans
  • A cancer screening
  • A colonoscopy
  • An electrocardiogram
  • An echocardiogram
  • A kidney ultrasound
  • A cardiac stress test

Once the patient has been deemed a suitable transplant candidate and the transplant surgery has been completed at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, our physicians will oversee a recovery schedule designed to meet each patient’s individual needs. Patients are asked to remain in the Tampa area for approximately six weeks, with Tampa General Hospital’s Transplant Houses as a possible temporary living option. Once the patient has transitioned back to the Fort Myers area, their post-transplant care will continue there unless a surgical issue requires a return to TGH. A typical recovery schedule includes:

  • Twice weekly visits for the first three months
  • Weekly visits for months four through six
  • Twice monthly visits for months seven to nine
  • Monthly visits for months 10 to 12
  • Yearly visits for the remainder of the patient’s life

If you would like additional information, contact the Tampa General Hospital Transplant Institute at Lee Health by calling (239) 224-3501 and asking for the referral coordinator.