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To Your Health: Understanding the kidney transplant process

The kidney transplant team Advocate Christ Medical Center Oak Lawn includes transplant surgeons transplant nephrologists nurse coordinators social worker dietician

The kidney transplant team at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn includes transplant surgeons, transplant nephrologists, nurse coordinators, a social worker, a dietician, a psychologist and a financial coordinator. | Supplied photo

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Updated: April 13, 2014 6:09AM



Advocate Christ Medical Center — a not-for-profit, 690-bed, premier teaching institution — has an established kidney transplant center offering easy access and world-class services for patients living in Chicago’s suburbs.

The transplant program has been approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services since February 2012.

At Advocate Christ Medical Center, we understand the critical nature of organ transplantation and are committed to organ donation and education.

Our center has a longstanding relationship with Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network and is one of the largest donor hospitals in Chicago.

Our team consists of transplant surgeons, transplant nephrologists, nurse coordinators, a social worker, dietician, psychologist and financial coordinator. Our staff is fluent in many languages, including Spanish, Hindi and Polish.

Our multidisciplinary team also includes expert physicians from infectious diseases, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology and neurology. At our center, we offer the latest innovations and techniques including laparoscopic, robotic and minimally invasive surgery to remove a kidney from a living donor. We also offer steroid-free antirejection therapy for most patients after the transplant.

Transplant process

Step One: Once the patient is referred by their nephrologist or primary care doctor, he or she will first meet the transplant surgeon, nephrologist and a transplant coordinator, who will review the medical history thoroughly.

Depending on the patient’s medical conditions, he or she also may meet with other members of the team including a psychologist. At the initial visit, time is devoted to obtaining a thorough history, physical examination and providing extensive education toward the overall process leading to transplant and understanding life after a kidney transplant.

Step Two: Our team will recommend various blood and radiological testing to evaluate the patient’s eligibility for a kidney transplant. These tests will allow us to assess other organ systems to ensure safe transplantation and good quality of life after surgery. Depending upon the test results, we may ask patients to see other subspecialty physicians in our team to address other medical issues.

Step Three: Once the testing and review is complete, the patient’s records will be presented at our multidisciplinary meeting for final review. If approved, the patient will be placed on the national and regional waiting lists for a kidney transplant. While on the lists, regular blood work and annual visits are performed to monitor the patient’s medical conditions.

Step Four: Once a suitable kidney is available, the patient is called in for the surgery. There are two types of kidney transplantations: living donor and deceased (cadaveric) donor. The short-term and long-term implications of both these types of transplants are discussed at length with patients during their initial visit to the transplant center.

Step Five: Most kidney transplant recipients are able to get out of bed in the first 24 hours and are typically discharged home in three to five days after surgery. Most living donors are discharged within 24 hours of kidney donation and are able to resume full activities, including their jobs, within two to four weeks after donation.

Step Six: Upon discharge from the hospital, the recipients will be seen at least twice weekly in the kidney transplant clinic for the first several weeks, and further visits will be further spaced out. Detailed ongoing education is provided to all patients regarding all aspects of care after receiving a kidney transplant.

Our office is next to the main entrance to the hospital, in the Physician’s Pavilion, on the ground level, Suite 112. To schedule an appointment or speak to a nurse coordinator, please call (708) 684-7100. We ask all our patients to bring family members and friends who may be interested in kidney donation to the initial visit.

Dr. Chaitanya Desai is director of transplant research at Advocate Christ Medical Center, which is a member of the Southland Health Alliance.



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