Kidney Transplant | Listing and Waiting

When the evaluation is complete, the transplant team informs the family of the results. They also communicate these results to the child’s primary care physician and local nephrologist. In all of these situations, the kidney transplant team works closely with the family and the child’s physicians to develop a coordinated care plan.

Listing for kidney transplant

When it is determined that a deceased donor kidney transplant is the most appropriate treatment option, the child will be “listed” on a national computer system, United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), as a potential transplant recipient. UNOS matches organ donors by weight and blood type with individuals waiting for a new kidney.

UNOS receives data about patients who need organ transplants from all over the country and places them on a waiting list. The Pediatric Transplant Center will send the data to UNOS and update them as the child’s condition changes. Criteria have been developed to ensure that all people on the waiting list are judged fairly as to the severity of their illness and the urgency of receiving a transplant.

Children waiting for a transplant receive “points” for several factors, including how long they have been waiting, the closeness of the match with an organ that becomes available and the location of the transplant center in relation to the location of the donor. When a kidney from a deceased donor becomes available, a computer searches the list and ranks all candidates in order of their total number of points and the kidneys are offered to the candidates with the most points. If the match isn’t right, or if it’s not the right time for the patient to receive a transplant, the kidney is offered to the next candidate on the list.

The national average for waiting time on the deceased donor kidney organ list is about six to 12 months for children, but because Boston Children’s Hospital is part of the New England Region of UNOS, children currently wait about three to six months for a deceased-donor kidney transplant. The kidney transplant team will support the family during this waiting period. We frequently see these potential recipients in our Renal Transplant Clinic while they are waiting for a kidney transplant. Our social workers, child life specialists and child psychiatrists or psychologists are also available to the family as needed.

Kidney transplant team: On call 24/7

The Kidney Transplant Program has surgeons and physicians available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. A kidney transplant surgeon or physician is available to facilitate organ acceptance, procurement and implantation and address urgent patient issues.