People considering living donation must undergo a vigorous evaluation to assess their suitability to be a donor. First and foremost, the evaluation is designed to protect the potential donor and ensure that the potential donor:
- Is not himself/herself at high risk for developing kidney disease, usually caused by chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, either now or in the future
- Does not feel coerced into donating
- Is not putting himself/herself at socioeconomic risk by donating
Below is an outline of the testing performed at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center for our potential living donors. Please note that this may vary somewhat among transplant centers.
The first step potential donors should take is to complete the registration process at https://cornell.donorscreen.org.
Based on your responses to the questions asked during the registration process, you will be contacted by a member of the donor team, who will discuss your eligibility for proceeding with the work-up process.
Testing for Potential Donors at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center
- Meet with the donor team's nurse coordinator, receive education and literature about donation.
- Have blood drawn to perform compatibility testing: blood type, antigen profile, and crossmatch.
Once you receive the results of these tests from us, you are responsible for telling your potential recipient the results — if and when you choose. To protect your privacy, we will not disclose this information to your potential recipient.
If you decide to move forward, you must contact us at (212) 746-3099 to arrange to come in for additional testing to confirm that you and your kidneys are healthy enough for donation.
You will receive a comprehensive medical evaluation that is likely more thorough than any other you have had in the past. In consideration of you becoming a donor, we believe it is our responsibility to protect your current and future well-being.
At this stage, you will:
- Collect your urine over the course of 24 hours, allowing us to check the health of your kidneys
- Meet with the donor team (nurse coordinator, physician, social worker and/or psychiatrist, living donor advocate)
- You will also have a series of tests, including
- Blood tests
- An electrocardiogram — an electrical tracing of the heart.
- Chest x-ray to ensure that your lungs are healthy
- CT scan with 3-D reconstruction to create a detailed anatomical road map of your kidneys to allow for the donor surgeon to visualize the blood supply to your kidneys.
Based on your age, gender, and medical history, other tests may be necessary.
- Women will need a Pap Smear and mammogram.
- Men over the age of 50 will need a PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test to screen for prostate cancer
- All potential donors over the age of 50 will need a colonoscopy and echocardiogram.
- If you have a history of high blood pressure, you will need a stress test and echocardiogram.
If all the testing done in Step 2 shows that you may still be a donor, we will set the date for the transplant — as long as your recipient has also been cleared for transplant and you still wish to be a donor.
One week prior to the scheduled transplant, you will return for the following
- Final crossmatch to confirm that there is no reaction when you and your recipient's blood are mixed
- Repeat blood tests to check for HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B
- A meeting with your surgeon
- A hospital visit to complete pre-operative paperwork and meet an anesthesiologist.