Kidney Transplant Tests | Transplantation Surgery | Dartmouth-Hitchcock
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Kidney Transplant Tests

When you and your nephrologists (kidney specialists) feel it is the right time to consider transplantation, you will be evaluated at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Transplant Center.

In order to determine if you are a good candidate for a transplant, the transplant team will ask that your physician order several medical tests. These tests will identify any conditions that might cause problems during the transplant surgery, and help make sure that a kidney transplant is your best treatment option. For all patients, this evaluation includes:

  • A physical exam and a detailed review of your medical and surgical history
  • A chest X-ray to check the lungs and lower respiratory tract
  • An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to check your heart and make sure there isn't any underlying heart damage
  • Blood tests to examine your blood count, blood chemistry, and blood clotting
  • Viral tests to see if you have been exposed to hepatitis, cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr (EBV), or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Blood and tissue typing to determine your blood type (A, B, AB, or O). The blood type of the kidney donor must be compatible with your blood type.
  • Panel Reactive Antibody (PRA) measures the activity of your immune system. The lower the PRA, the easier it is for the body to accept a new kidney. Things that increase the PRA include blood transfusions, pregnancies, a previous transplant, or an infection.
  • Dental exam. Transplant candidates must have good oral health due to the risk of post-transplant infections. Candidates will also need to be checked by a dentist every year while waiting for a transplant.
  • A mammogram, for any female patients 40 years and older. This X-ray screens for breast masses, tumors, and abnormalities.
  • A pap smear for any female patients 18 years and older. This checks for cancer of the cervix.
  • A prostate exam and PSA test for any male patients over age 50. The exam checks for growths on the prostate gland, while the prostate specific antigen (PSA) blood test helps determine overall prostate health.
  • A colonscopy (colon scope) for all men over 40 years old and all women over 50 years old

For some patients, additional tests are required if their medical history or physical exam indicates a potential problem. Examples of these potential additional tests include:

  • A stress echocardiogram to see how your heart functions during exercise
  • An MRI which will examine the blood flow to your legs
  • A Dexascan X-ray to check the density of your bones
  • A pulmonary function test shows how well your lungs work, and determines your blood's ability to carry oxygen
  • An upper gastrointestinal (GI) series makes sure your esophagus and stomach are free of disease
  • Renal studies will determine if your kidneys are working adequately. Urine will be collected over a 24-hour period for study. Blood tests such as serum creatinine will be performed at the same time.
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