Living Donor Program

Explore the Transplant Journey   Kidney Transplant Outcomes   Access FAQs

Piedmont Transplant has some of the nation's best outcomes for kidney transplantation, with key expertise in living donation. A transplanted kidney from a living donor decreases the wait time and provides the greatest chance for long-term success. Piedmont Transplant Institute is passionate about live kidney donation and the life-saving benefits for patients with kidney failure. Live donation has allowed thousands of people with kidney failure to live longer and become free of dialysis's health and quality of life challenges. We will provide you with the resources and the education to find a live donor!

Benefit: Your gift will help save someone's life.

With estimated wait times of at least five to seven years, many people with kidney disease die before a new organ becomes available. Donating a kidney can help change those odds and save a life.

  • New minimally invasive approaches make it easier for donors to recover.
    New surgical techniques allow doctors to remove a kidney using smaller incisions than ever before. Today's living-kidney donors are usually out of the hospital within 1-2 days and back to work within a minimum of two weeks.
  • Even if you are not a match for your recipient, you can still donate on their behalf through paired-kidney exchanges.
    A paired-kidney exchange is an intricate process of mixing and matching recipients and their donors in an ever-widening pool until the right pairings are found.
  • You can live a long and normal life with only one kidney.
    Before your donation, you will receive a thorough medical exam from our transplant team to evaluate your overall health and look for any unknown problems. Our team wants to protect your health, too! Donors are HEROS.
  • You don't have to be an exact blood match with your intended recipient.
    Some organs are so close to being a match that doctors can use innovative techniques to decrease the likelihood of rejection. "Close enough" is better than having to live with diseased kidneys!

For more information on living donation, visit the United Network for Organ Sharing

Paired Kidney Exchange (PKE)

Paired Kidney Exchange (PKE) allows kidney donors to participate in live donation even when they are incompatible with their intended recipients (due to immunologic risk or blood type).

Piedmont Transplant Institute is committed to connecting pairs of people who are incompatible with other pairs across the country to achieve a good match for all pairs.

In a paired exchange, a donor will donate their kidney to another recipient in exchange for a compatible kidney for their intended recipient. For example, the first pair, a mother and her son, are incompatible. The second pair, a husband and his wife, are also incompatible. In this exchange, the mother donates to the wife of the second pair, and the husband donates to the son in the first pair.

Often, compatible pairs enter into a paired exchange to get a better-matched donor (better age match or better immunologic match).

Importantly, we feel very strongly about making the donation process as rewarding and safe as possible for our donors. To fully achieve this goal, Piedmont Transplant Institute provides multiple layers of protection for our donors through the Donor Shield Program.

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Criteria: Finding a Potential Match

Criteria have been developed to ensure that all people on the national donor waiting list are judged based on the severity of their illness and the urgency of receiving a transplant.

Piedmont Transplant shares patient-need data and conditions with The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the agency responsible for transplant organ distribution in the United States.

After you decide to donate a kidney, the Piedmont Transplant Institute team will verify whether your blood type is compatible with the recipient's via two blood tests:

  • One to determine your blood type (ABO)
  • Another is to classify your tissue (HLA) and determine how closely it matches the recipient's tissue.

If you are a compatible match, you will be scheduled for a two-day outpatient donor evaluation at the hospital. To determine if you're a match, you can take our survey or download and complete the health history form.

Take the Questionnaire Take the Questionnaire (Spanish Version) 


Evaluation: The Transplant Evaluation

When you arrive for the evaluation, you will have routine blood tests and be asked to give a urine sample. Other tests are:

  • Chest X-ray to evaluate your chest and lungs
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) to test your heart function
  • Renal scan (Glo-Fil) to measure how your kidneys filter your blood
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan to examine the anatomy of your kidneys (this helps determine if you are a good candidate for a laparoscopic – or minimally invasive — kidney removal)

The transplant team will meet to review your tests and determine if you're healthy enough to undergo surgery. The surgeon will review the technical aspects of the procedure, possible complications, and the expected recovery after donation. You will also have an opportunity to discuss any questions you may have and speak with a psychiatrist about the emotional aspect of donation.

After receiving approval from the transplant team, you should talk with your loved ones and decide if kidney donation is right for you, your family and the potential recipient.

Just one donor can save eight lives. Register to become an organ donor today.

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