Preparing for a Transplant
The support person should know what counseling services are available at
the transplant center and know when to ask for help from an outside resource,
such as another family member, community resources, or your place of
What tests will I need before my transplant?
Before you can be considered for an organ transplant, you will need to
have medical tests to find out whether you are a good transplant candidate and
to find out your tissue type. Knowing your tissue type will make matching with a donor organ easier. Some tests are required for all organ transplant
candidates, while others are needed to monitor your chronic disease or the
cause of your organ failure. In general, tests that are done for all organ
transplant candidates include:
- A cross-match for transplant. This is a blood
test that shows whether your body will reject the donor organ immediately.
Antibodies are proteins made by your immune system
that attack and destroy foreign substances (antigens), such
as bacteria and viruses. The cross-match will mix a donor's blood with your
blood to see whether your antibodies attack the antigens of the donor. If they
do, you are not a good match with the donor.
- Antibody screen. A panel-reactive antibody (PRA) test measures whether you have
antibodies against a broad range of people. And if you do, it means you are at
higher risk of having rejection, even if the cross-match shows that you and the
donor are a good match.
- Blood type.
This is a blood test that shows which type of blood you have-type A, B, O,
or AB. Your
blood type should be compatible with the organ donor's
blood type, although it is sometimes possible to transplant an organ from a
donor with a different blood type.
- Tissue type.
This is a blood test that shows the genetic makeup of your body's cells.
Each of us has genetic markers on the surface of our white blood cells. We
inherit three different kinds of markers from our mothers and three from our
fathers. The more of these six markers you share with the organ donor, the more
likely it is that your body will accept the donor organ.
mental health assessment. Because many emotional
issues are involved in having an organ transplant, you will be required to take
a mental health assessment to identify any psychological issues that may
prevent you from receiving and properly caring for your new organ. A living
donor is also required to have a mental health assessment before donating an
The results of these medical tests will be used to match
you with an organ donor. The more matches you have, the more likely your body
will accept the new organ.
What other factors increase my chance for a successful organ transplant?