Getting Listed for Transplant
A key step in your journey to transplantation is getting listed for transplant. If you’re wondering how to begin, we’re here to help!
When a transplant candidate has been evaluated and approved for transplant, they’re added to the national waiting list managed by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). As donors are identified, they are run through UNOS’ national computer matching system to identify a recipient that matches their unique characteristics. Once you’re officially listed, you can be considered for a deceased donor organ that comes available, provided it matches with you and your need. The computer system will categorize your listing based on many variables including your blood type, size, and current medical condition.
There are several steps to being placed on the UNOS transplant waiting list:
First you’ll have a transplant evaluation at a transplant center
This evaluation will likely include several days of testing and consultation with various transplant professionals. Each person on the team will consult with you and determine if you’re a suitable candidate for transplant.
Some patients think they’re automatically listed once their transplant evaluation is complete, but that’s not the case. While the evaluation is a major milestone in the process of getting listed, there are two more important steps.
The transplant team meets to discuss your case
Each member of the multidisciplinary transplant team presents their findings about your evaluation. Once your medical information is reviewed by the multidisciplinary team, a consensus is given to either place you on the list, to defer your listing pending more information, or deny you for transplant. A defer or deny outcome needs to be discussed with your care team. There could be alternative treatments for you other than transplant, or your care team might need more information before they are able to decide when you should be listed.
If approved for listing, you'll be added to the UNOS database
Once you have been approved for listing, a member of the team, an RN Care Coordinator if you’re being treated at Mayo Clinic, will add your information to the UNOS national database. Your hospital will send you a registered letter in the mail to let you know you have been listed and the RN Care Coordinator may notify you via telephone, as well. Once you receive this letter, it’s official – you are LISTED for transplant.
Your listing process is regulated by UNOS. Any hospital where your evaluation takes place needs to follow the steps above to get you properly listed on the transplant waiting list. Understanding these steps can help alleviate concerns or questions you might have about being listed for transplant and begin your waiting time for that lifesaving organ. If you have questions about this process or when you will be listed, contact your transplant center.
Are you currently listed for transplant? What surprised you about the process?