Kidney Transplant

Becoming a Kidney Recipient

Receiving a Kidney Transplant

Once you have explored your options and decide to consider pursuing a kidney transplant, you will want to understand as much as you can about what’s involved and what you can expect before, during and after surgery. The sooner a kidney failure patient undergoes transplant, the better. In fact, it’s best to avoid dialysis altogether – or limit the time spent on dialysis. The staff at the Barnes-Jewish and Washington University Transplant Center will guide you through each step of the transplant process, so you can move forward as quickly as possible with your treatment plan.

Your first step, of course, is to be confirmed as an eligible candidate for transplant.

Transplant Eligibility

Unless you have phoned or visited a transplant center and been told you cannot get a kidney transplant, you may still be eligible. Many patients assume that they are too old for transplant, but if you are otherwise healthy, age is not a factor in determining your transplant eligibility. However, there are some other factors that prevent patients from getting a kidney transplant:
  • Current life expectancy of less than 5 years
  • Recent cancer (other than most skin cancers)
  • Uncorrectable heart disease
  • Untreatable psychiatric illness
  • Non-adherence to treatment (e.g. not taking medications as advised)
  • Active substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)
  • Lack of health insurance or Medicare/Medicaid coverage
Note: Patients with diabetes and/or high blood pressure can get a kidney transplant.

You and your doctor will discuss your eligibility during the transplant Evaluation Process. That’s also the time to talk about the surgery, costs, risks, medicines and post-transplant care. At Barnes-Jewish, our goal is to make sure every patient is informed and prepared for all aspects of kidney transplant. You will receive the support and resources that you need.

For additional information or to begin a kidney transplant evaluation, call .

Ambrose Perkins

Ambrose Perkins was an active father and grandfather. He enjoyed his job as a bus driver, and he especially loved fishing, spending much of his free time with a rod and reel. When hypertension caused his kidneys to fail, Ambrose's doctors told him a transplant was his best bet for a normal life. Because none of his family members were donor candidates, he went on the waiting list for a donor organ. One day, as Ambrose told his boss about his condition, his friend and co-worker, Kim Monroe, overheard and offered to donate her kidney. Ambrose thought she was kidding. But Kim made an appointment to be evaluated as a donor and drove to Barnes-Jewish for an extensive work up. It turned out that Kim's kidney was a close match for Ambrose. On Nov. 15, 2005, Kim underwent a mini-nephrectomy - a minimally invasive donor procedure developed at Barnes-Jewish, and Ambrose received her healthy kidney. Both were out of the hospital within a week. Thanks to the skill of his doctors, the support of the transplant center team, and the generosity of his co-worker, Ambrose is reeling in fish once again.


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