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Frequently Asked Questions About the UK Transplant Center

General questions

Living kidney questions

Organ donation questions

How can I be seen or evaluated at the UK HealthCare Transplant Center?

If you have end-stage organ failure and your physician believes that you may be a candidate for an organ transplant, he or she will refer you to our center. At that time, you will be evaluated and undergo a series of tests to see if you may be a transplant candidate. Our transplant team will review the results of your evaluation.

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Must a patient be referred by a specialist?

No. Patients may refer themselves or they can be referred by their primary care physician. We will need permission to obtain medical records from other treatment facilities.

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What insurances do you accept? Do some insurance companies provide more coverage than others for transplant procedures?

UK HealthCare works with a continually growing list of insurance companies. Our financial counselors will work with you and your insurance company to determine the level of coverage available should you need an organ transplant. To reach a financial counselor, call 859-323-9347, 859-323-1726, or 859-323-5002.

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Do all patients get listed for transplant?

Not all patients may be suitable candidates for transplant. Each patient will need to undergo a thorough evaluation to determine if they are a transplant candidate.

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How will I know when I have been placed on the transplant waiting list?

The transplant nurse coordinator assigned to you will contact you by phone and explain several aspects of what it means to "go on the list." You will then be placed on the waiting list. You will also receive a letter confirming that you are on the list.

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Can I be on more than one transplant center's waitlist at the same time?

Yes, you can be listed for an organ transplant at more than one center. Multiple listing involves registering at two or more transplant centers in different locations. Multiple listing may increase your chances of receiving an organ offer. For more information about multiple listing, please visit the UNOS site.

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How long is the wait for a transplant?

Length of time on the waiting list depends on many things:

  • Blood type
  • Antibody status
  • Organ for which you are waiting
  • Willingness to consider the expanded criteria donor (donor may be older or have certain medical conditions)
  • Living donor possibilities

Your transplant nurse coordinator can answer your questions after gathering more specific information.

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I'm from out of town. How long will I need to remain in the Lexington area before or after my transplant?

Once your evaluation is complete, you can generally return home until an organ becomes available. Your time in Lexington after the transplant depends on several factors including medical status, resources near your home, follow up treatment needed and support systems.

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I live outside of the United States. Can I still come to your center to receive an organ transplant?

Yes, we will evaluate you at our center. However, in order to begin our evaluation process, we would request payment based on the type of transplant procedure needed prior to services. The prepayment will be credited to an account established with UK HealthCare and utilized as you receive services by our physicians. If there is a credit balance upon completion of all your needed care, a refund will be given. In the event that your care costs more than the original prepayment amount, you would be expected to pay the additional charges. If you would like additional information on transplantation services at UK HealthCare, please contact us at 1-800-333-8874.

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Do you offer living donor kidney transplant?

Yes. Kidneys can come from both deceased and living donors. Deceased donors are donors who have been declared brain dead and whose families have agreed to organ donation. This has been the main source of transplantable kidneys. However, kidney donations from living donors are increasing and we have a dedicated team for living donors. View additional information about our live donor kidney transplant program »

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Can anyone become a living donor?

A living kidney donor can be anyone in good health and with two kidneys. While relatives may be more likely to donate, non-relatives can also donate. Donors can be spouses, significant others, friends, neighbors or even someone you don't know.

Anyone interested in being a living donor should contact the Transplant Center at 859-323-2467 or 859-218-2937 and ask to speak to the living donor coordinator. Their questions will be answered, a referral form will be completed at that time and a packet of information about the living donor process as well as forms needed to initiate the process will be mailed to them.

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What is the advantage of a live donor vs. a deceased donor for a person who needs a kidney transplant?

Studies show that persons who have a live donor kidney transplant experience a higher success rate as well as a longer life span of the transplanted organ. Also, with a live donor, the long waiting period on a transplant list can be avoided.

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What happens if I do not have a living donor?

If there are no possible living donors, you will be listed for a kidney from a deceased donor on the national waiting list. The time required to wait for a kidney transplant can vary according to your blood type and medical background.

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I am interested in donating one of my kidneys to a family member or friend. What steps are involved? What costs can I expect to encounter?

Thank you for your interest in becoming an organ donor. We recommend you visit Donate Life America at www.donatelife.net/faq. This organization provides detailed information on how to become a donor. You as the donor will not encounter any costs before or after the transplant procedure. All costs would be covered by the transplant recipient's insurance company.

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Are there any long-term effects from donating a kidney?

No long-term medical conditions resulting from live kidney donation have been identified. Surgical complications, such as pain, hernia and infections are rare. Live kidney donors are expected to lead normal lives post-donation, practice good health habits and have a yearly health checkup.

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Does your center offer living liver donation as an option?

We do not perform living liver donation transplant procedures at this time.

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How do I register as an organ donor?

You can indicate your wish to be an organ donor when you renew your license at the county clerk's office or by signing the online state registry: the Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates. If you are outside the state of Kentucky, please visit organdonor.gov. Please make sure you tell your family about about your decision so your wishes may be honored. 

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Can I sell my organs?

No. It is a federal crime to sell organs within the United States.

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