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Deceased donor transplant


Coronavirus: kidney and transplant update

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A deceased donor kidney comes from someone who has died.

There is a national pool of people waiting for this type of transplant. You can find out more in our patient information leaflets ‘Understanding the kidney transplant pool’ (PDF 100Kb).

Going into hospital

If you are having a deceased donor kidney transplant, the transplant team will contact you by telephone and you will need to go to Richard Bright Ward, 6th floor, Borough Wing at Guy’s Hospital immediately.

If you are waiting for a deceased donor kidney transplant, it is important that you:

  • tell your partner, close family or main contact person(s)
  • plan in advance who will look after any dependents
  • have a bag ready with toiletries, night clothes and information about any medication you are taking
  • plan how you will get to Guy’s Hospital.
  • At hospital

    It is very important that you are fit and have no infections before you have your transplant. It is also important that you tell your transplant team if you have, or have recently had, an infection or a cold.

    Before your transplant you will have blood tests to check that you are still compatible with the kidney you are going to receive and you are fit to have an anaesthetic.

    Sometimes you may be called in but the transplant does not go ahead. If this happens, your surgeon will discuss this with you at the time.

    Your surgeon will talk to you about the surgery in detail. The surgeon may need to talk to you about any medical problems that the donor had.

    You may be suitable for a trial of new treatments for you or your kidney. If you are eligible, you may be approached by a member of the research team who will talk to you about studies that you might wish to take part in. You are not under any pressure to take part in a study, and saying ‘no’ will not change the care that you will receive.

  • The operation

    A kidney transplant generally takes two to four hours. The new kidney will be put into the left or right groin. Your own kidneys are not usually removed during the operation.

    Occasionally, both kidneys from a deceased donor are transplanted into a single recipient. This is called a double kidney transplant. This will be done if the transplant surgeons and kidney doctors think that transplanting just one kidney would not work well enough for you, usually because the donor is an older person. This will be discussed with you when you come in to hospital.

    Read more about ‘Having a kidney transplant from a deceased donor’ (PDF 135Kb).

  • After your transplant

    You will be given pain relieving medication during and after your transplant. You may need dialysis for a short time after your transplant until your new kidney starts working and this is more likely if you have had a deceased donor transplant.

    You will have blood tests every day to check your kidney function and levels of anti-rejection medication.

  • Going home

    You will usually be in hospital for four to seven days.

    You will have a follow-up appointment at your transplant clinic within one or two days after leaving hospital. After receiving your new kidney you will need to attend the transplant clinic three times a week for the first month, then twice a week for the second month, then once a week until four months have passed.

    You will be sent home with medication for at least two weeks. After this we will continue to provide your anti-rejection medication, either through collection from the onsite hospital pharmacy or a home delivery service. Please make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible after leaving hospital, as they will prescribe all your transplant medication other than your anti-rejection medication.

    If you do think you have an infection or there is something else wrong, contact your transplant clinic. If you are calling out of hours, please call the Richard Bright Ward on 020 7188 8817.

  • Will I be able to contact the donor family?

    This can only be done anonymously. You can give a letter to your transplant coordinator who will pass it on to the family.



Organ donation

Tel: 0300 123 23 23 

NHS organ donation website