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Receiving a healthy kidney from a living donor

Coronavirus: kidney and transplant update

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please read our advice and information before attending the service.


The person receiving the kidney is called the recipient.

If you are having a deceased donor kidney transplant the transplant team will contact you by telephone and you will need to go to Guy’s Hospital immediately.

If you are having a living donor kidney transplant, you and your donor will be able to plan the date of your surgery with your transplant team.

  • Before your transplant

    You are advised to stay healthy while you are waiting for a transplant. It is important that you are fit and have no infections before you have your transplant. Please tell your transplant team if you have, or have recently had, an infection or a cold. They will then decide whether your transplant should go ahead.

    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.

    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.

  • During the transplant 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.

  • 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.

    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. If you have a pancreas and kidney transplant you are likely to stay in hospital for two to three weeks.

    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, twice a week for the second month and once a week until four months.

    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.



NHS Blood and Transplant

Find out more about living donation on the NHS Blood and Transplant website and watch a series of short films explaining living donation through the eyes of living donors, transplant recipients and healthcare professionals.

Donation can really give someone the chance of a full, rich and healthy life. The benefit is incalculable because it’s not just the recipient who benefits but also the people who love and care for that person.

John Connor, kidney recipient