Kidney and pancreas: The transplant hospital stay

The following timeline is representative of the typical transplant recipient; no patient will have exactly the same experience.

Day of surgeryIllustration of kidney transplant procedure

  • You will be admitted directly to the Transplant Unit.
  • Blood samples will be obtained.
  • A chest x-ray and EKG may be obtained.
  • How quickly you proceed to surgery will be determined by many factors including the receipt of the donor organ, the time for crossmatch testing and your need for dialysis or additional testing before surgery.
  • The surgery typically takes about four hours but varies with each patient.
  • After the surgery, you will spend time in the post-anesthesia care unit prior to returning to the Transplant Unit.

Post transplant

  • The majority of patients are able to start eating and drinking on the first day after surgery.
  • You will have a Foley catheter that was placed during surgery in your bladder to drain your urine. 
  • You will have blood drawn at regular intervals.
  • You will be assisted in taking your first walk after surgery, and will be expected to increase your amount of activity every day to prevent complications such as pneumonia and blood clots.
  • You will be encouraged to cough and deep breathe to prevent pneumonia.
  • A transplant pharmacist will educate you and your family about your new medications.
  • A Transplant Coordinator Nurse will meet with you and your family to arrange for local laboratory blood work. You will have your first follow-up appointment at the Organ Transplant Clinic approximately two weeks after discharge. You will be given the date and time of this appointment before you are discharged.
  • Most kidney recipients are discharged four to five days after surgery.
  • At a post-operative visit, you will also have an appointment with urology for removal of the stent (small plastic tube) that was placed between your transplant kidney and bladder during the transplant surgery.
Last reviewed: 
January 2018

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