Kidney and pancreas transplant: Evaluation

The transplant decision is a complicated one and involves input from a lot of people, including you.

Our evaluation process has been carefully coordinated to meet the specific needs of your health history.

We have tried to schedule your entire evaluation to fit into one visit to the University of Iowa. We know that you may have traveled a long distance to get here and we want to be respectful of your time.

Every evaluation is a little different because every patient is unique. Typically, every evaluation includes an update of your health history, blood draw for routine laboratory tests, thorough history and physical exams, an assessment by a social worker, a review of your insurance by a financial counselor, and additional testing or consults as needed.

Medical evaluation

Kidney and pancreas transplant candidates will complete an evaluation process that includes blood and urine tests, chest x-ray, EKG, heart function testing, and consultations. Defining a clear picture of your current health status increases the likelihood of a successful transplant outcome.


As part of your evaluation, you will meet with various team members. These may include:

  • Transplant Surgeon
  • Transplant Nephrologist
  • Clinical Psychologist
  • Transplant Coordinator
  • Social Worker
  • Financial Counselor
  • Other specialists as needed for your particular needs

Educational conference

At the educational conference, you will meet with a transplant coordinator, who is a registered nurse specializing in organ transplantation. During this meeting, the coordinator will describe all aspects of the transplant process.

You are encouraged to bring family and friends to this meeting. You will learn about how candidates are screened, risks and benefits, complications of the procedure, hospital routines, and care after you leave the hospital.

During the educational session, you will have ample opportunity to ask questions and discuss your concerns. The transplant coordinator will assist you and your family throughout your entire transplant process.

Social services

The kidney and pancreas transplant teams have a multidisciplinary approach, which stresses the importance of treating individuals as a whole. We recognize the importance of the patient’s emotional and mental needs, as well as physical needs.

A transplant social worker will meet with you and your family during your evaluation. The social worker gathers information about you and your family, your coping abilities, support systems, and ability to follow post-transplant instructions. This information helps the social worker determine your needs while you are in the hospital and how to better prepare you for the transplant experience. The social worker provides emotional support, information, plans for your discharge, and will assist you to explore appropriate groups and service agencies in your local community.

Financial counselor

Prior to even starting your evaluation, our transplant financial counselor will contact you to obtain all pertinent information about your insurance coverage. Transplant can be expensive. Our financial counselor will work with your insurance carrier to obtain the necessary approvals for your evaluation to proceed.

If there are gaps in your coverage, the financial counselor will discuss options with you and your family so you have the most current information in order to help you deal with the financial issues. The financial counselor will help you with potential resources so you can receive the transplant.

Approval for transplantation

When the evaluation is completed, the multidisciplinary kidney and pancreas transplant committee will review the results of tests, procedures, and consultations. This committee, which meets weekly, consists of the surgeons, physicians, nurses, social workers, and other team members who you have met throughout the evaluation process. All members contribute their opinion; and a decision is made with regard to further testing, additional treatment, and when you should be added to the waiting list.

If you are approved for transplantation, you will be placed on the recipient wait list of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). Kidney recipients are matched to donor according to blood type, tissue type, and waiting time on the list.

Last reviewed: 
January 2018

Interested in using our health content?