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​A kidney transplant evaluation is the first step of the transplant assessment process. Your evaluation will be organized through FASTRAK in the Kidney Transplant Clinic.

During your kidney transplant evaluation, you will have several tests done and you will talk to a member of the transplant team to find out if a transplant is safe and right for you. You will need to visit the Toronto General Hospital​ 2 or 3 times to complete your evaluation.

Based on your age and your medical history, you may have all or some of these tests:

  • Blood tests and virus testing
  • Heart tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), an echocardiogram, a stress test, or an angiogram
  • Chest x-rays, abdominal ultrasound and other imaging
  • Screening for diabetes
  • Screening for cancer
  • TB skin test

You will also meet with a transplant assessment coordinator, transplant nephrologist (kidney specialist), transplant surgeon​, anesthetist, and social worker​.

You might be asked to see other specialists, such as a cardiologist or heart specialist, depending on your medical condition.

You will also need to have special blood tests to find out if your body's immune system will be able to handle a kidney transplant. This is a very important part of your kidney transplant evaluation.

Transplant Approval Process

After your evaluation is done, your transplant team will review all your test results and will talk to you about whether a transplant is right for you.

You may be approved for a kidney transplant if:

  1. All required tests and consultations have been done.
  2. All recommendations have been followed, such as having the treatments you need before your transplant.
  3. You have met and talked with all members of the transplant team who are involved in your evaluation.

The entire team may then approve you for a transplant, based on your test results and current medical condition. The team will also consider two more important factors:

  1. Timing - Your kidneys may not be failing completely. If this is the case, you may not be ready to have a transplant.
  2. Safety - Although most patients get approved, it may be medically unsafe for you to have a kidney transplant. If you have active or advanced heart disease, an infection, cancer, or any other condition that may make it unsafe for you to have transplant surgery, the team may decide with you that you should not have a transplant.

Kidney Transplant Options

Living donor

To increase your chance of getting a kidney transplant, you should talk to people who may be interested in, and willing to, donate a kidney to you. This is called a living donor kidney transplant.

Your kidney donor could be your spouse, a family member, a co-worker or even a stranger. Don't count anyone out as a possible donor.

The UHN Kidney Transplant team will work with you to find out if your possible live donor is a good match for you. If not, our doctors and surgeons will find ways for you to receive a kidney transplant through several of our specialized kidney transplant programs​

If you have found a suitable living donor, you usually will be able to have your surgery in approximately 6 months, if all your tests are acceptable and your donor is a good match. All of this information varies, depending on your individual circumstances.

Deceased donor

If you cannot find a living donor, you will be placed on the deceased donor kidney transplant waiting list. This means that you will wait for a kidney donated from someone who has passed away. The starting time for your wait will be the first date you started chronic dialysis. Right now, the time you may need to wait for a kidney from a deceased donor is anywhere between 4 to 10 years.

Expanded Criteria Donor (ECD) program

If you are older than 50 years old, you may be eligible for the Expanded Criteria Donor (ECD) list. If you are on this list, a kidney transplant can happen more quickly for you. Similar to the usual waiting list, your wait time on the ECD list will be measured from the day you started chronic dialysis. Your transplant team will talk with you about what will happen as you wait for a kidney on the ECD list and how long this wait will be.

Specialized Kidney Transplant Programs

We also offer several specialized kidney transplant programs​​ to increase your chance of receiving a kidney transplant. These include  the national Living Donor Paired Exchange Program. Talk to our transplant team to find out which program may be best for you.


It is very important to have a family doctor by the time of your transplant

Before your transplant surgery, you should quit smoking and lose weight, if needed. This will help you prepare for surgery and may reduce your recovery time after surgery. The transplant team is here to help and support you at this time and you can also talk to your family doctor.​