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11 hours ago · New Transplant Blog Posts in Transplants

Good morning!
If you've been called in for transplant or have started your evaluation process, you likely know that the costs and convenience of lodging during this time is not always great. Hotels can be costly and let's face it, they aren't always clean enough for even the least picky guest, so they certainly aren't the best for a immune compromised patient. That's why Mayo Clinic, and other transplant centers, have made the choice to partner with hospitality houses, so that patients can have an easier – and cheaper- experience with lodging choices. Read more about our transplant house partners in the attached blog and share this info with anyone who might need a place to stay during their transplant process.
Have a wonderful week!


11 hours ago · Transplant Hospitality Houses - A Home Away From Home in Transplant

2018-11-27 Transplant House

Original Gift of Life Transplant House in Rochester, Minnesota (Artist: Ron Hunt)

Most patients don’t have a transplant center located in their hometown, so many have to travel hours to get their lifesaving treatment and surgery. Traveling for medical reasons can be expensive since it often happens last minute. Appointments and surgery can result in many days away from home and hotels for extended stays can become expensive. Transplant centers understand these burdens on patients and do what they can to help lessen the inconveniences by offering bundled appointments and schedules that work with patients’ personal calendars.

One way for patients to save money and protect their immune systems is by choosing to stay at a transplant house. Some transplant centers partner with hospitality houses in their area to provide clean and affordable lodging to transplant patients and their caregivers. At Mayo Clinic, each transplant center in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota partners with a transplant house close to the hospital.

Some may ask, what are some benefits of a transplant house over other overnight accommodations? We have some great information for you about the transplant houses located near the three Mayo Clinic Transplant Centers.


Transplant houses know about transplant patients’ suppressed immune systems. They clean and sanitize the rooms and kitchens very well so the guests don’t catch bugs or germs during their transplant stay. This is important pre-transplant so patients don’t miss the opportunity to get their life saving organ, and it’s important post-transplant due to their immunosuppressive drugs. While the houses do allow guests to have a caregiver stay with them, children and pets are not allowed to stay. This keeps the houses free from those extra germs that are sometimes carried by kids and our furry friends.


People tell us one of their favorite things about staying in the transplant houses is being able to meet the other patients. Everyone there is going through a similar situation, and it’s so helpful for transplant recipients to be able to meet and talk with those who have the same triumphs and struggles as they do. Often the guests at the house leave with lifelong friends that they didn’t expect. The houses have many commons areas for people to sit together, play games, watch television and visit in a group setting. The shared kitchens also give people the opportunity to eat together if they wish, which can save in meal expenses and help pass the time if you have a long wait at the house.


In general, hospitality houses cost much less than hotels, sometimes more than half as much. The houses sometimes charge a one-time cleaning fee for the extra cleaning that needs to be done during your stay, but the nightly charge is a significant savings from that of a hotel or other lodging. Some houses also have scholarships for patients who may be in financial hardship. Contact the house you are considering for more information on payment.


Transplant houses are generally located very close to the hospital or clinic. During times of pleasant weather, this can provide a nice walk at the end of the day for patients. Some will also have a shuttle service to and from the hospital for those who prefer to travel by car. This saves on parking and transportation costs while you are in town attending your appointments or waiting for your surgery.


At a transplant house, everyone understands the need for peace and quiet for patients. People staying there with you are in a similar situation as you – tired from appointments, fatigued from their disease, and thankful for a quiet evening. The house provides you with your own room and bathroom where you can retire in peace to read or rest. Because the house doesn’t allow children to stay, you won’t be awakened at all hours of the day and night by happy screams and laughter. The houses also have outdoor spaces with comfortable seating where you can relax and watch the wildlife and sit in the shade.


The transplant houses have special rules for guests regarding cleaning, noise, cooking, and visitors. Each house will provide you with these rules over the phone or during a pre-stay tour of the house. These rules may seem a bit strict, especially regarding guests, but they are in place to protect you and your transplanted organ. Some of these rules help regulate visitors to the house, keeping the common areas and kitchens clean, and respecting your fellow guests’ situations. Understanding the policies of the house is an important part of keeping the patients safe and healthy.

The transplant houses, especially those associated with Mayo Clinic, provide patients a warm and welcoming place to stay while you are undergoing testing pre-transplant, coming back for your annual evaluations, or staying in town after your surgery. The houses understand transplant patients and their struggles and triumphs and are willing to help whenever necessary. The houses are a cost-effective, convenient and clean place to consider for lodging during your transplant journey.

You can find out more information about the transplant houses that partner with Mayo Clinic using the link below.


5 days ago · Liver support group in Transplants

@rosemarya and @matthewswill,
Thanks for the great question. The Florida clinic doesn't do living donor liver transplants, but they have a very active deceased donor liver transplant program. While transplant from a living donor is an excellent alternative to a deceased donor, each procedure comes with certain risks: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/liver-transplant/basics/risks/prc-20014076. The risks of living donation should be weighed against the risk of waiting for a matching organ from a deceased donor.
Mayo Clinic Florida is in a region of the country that is fortunate to have a higher rate of livers from deceased donors compared to other regions of the country. As a result, at Mayo Clinic Florida, the average wait time for a liver transplant is about 3 months (significantly lower than national average). At Mayo Clinic Florida, we are able to transplant patients sooner than most other transplant centers in the country and achieve outstanding outcomes without subjecting living donors to the risks of liver donation.
Living donor liver transplant remains an option for patients who will not likely receive a liver transplant from a deceased donor in a timely manner. Though we do not offer living donor liver transplant at Mayo Clinic Florida, it is an option at our campuses in Minnesota and Arizona. I hope this answers your question. Have a wonderful day!

6 days ago · Thinking about partial liver donation in Transplants

Hello @bhamster,
Welcome to Connect! You ask great questions about organ donation. We will do our best to provide you with answers to your questions, but your best source of information would be to speak with a living donor nurse coordinator. If you have not done so already, once you apply to be a donor at the hospital where your friend is being treated, they will provide you with the name and phone number of a nurse coordinator. This nurse is your source of information and the person who can provide you with the best responses to your questions. A discussion with a donor nurse coordinator does not mean that you are proceeding with donation. You are welcome to opt out of your decision at ANY time during the process. Now to hopefully provide some added information to your questions:

1. Most donors do need to stay in the area where they had their surgery for a couple weeks after donation. The surgical team needs to be sure that your liver is regenerating as it should and your wound is healing well.
2. The 6 week return to work guideline is a general guideline. Some donors would feel better enough to return to work a bit sooner than that, especially those without any manual labor component to their job. However, it is very important to give yourself time to recover. Even being on a computer and managing a business from home could lead to stress for you and could hinder your recovery. You can have the discussion with the nurse coordinator about your specific situation, and he or she can let you know how people with similar jobs have managed their return to work after donation.
3. The driving restriction is real, especially if you are taking any narcotic pain medication during your recovery. Again, the nurse coordinator can assist you with more information about driving and when other donors have been able to return to that task.
4. The risk of liver donation is quoted as 1:300 chance of risk to the donor’s life. This statistic is based on national and international data that is available to us.
Again, I would encourage you to speak to a nurse coordinator. Our coordinators regularly speak with many people interested in learning more about the donation process prior to making a decision about being evaluated. Please know that at no point in the process are you committed to proceeding. You are always welcome to post your questions and concerns on Connect as well. Our discussion group participants are people who have been transplant patients, donors and caregivers. They have great experiences to share with you. Best of luck to you in your decision.

Tue, Nov 27 12:24pm · New Transplant Blog Posts in Transplants

Hi everyone!
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all survived the meal and family/friends for the weekend. It was cold here in Minnesota, but not too cold for some Black Friday good deals!
Today's blog post is another post about living donor surgery. If you are considering being a donor or someone in your circle is considering donation to you, there is never such a thing as having too much information. So we keep publishing blogs, hoping that everyone who is considering donation has the most information they can handle before they undergo surgery.
We want to sincerely thank Dr. Jadlowiec from our Arizona kidney team for providing us with today's great information.
Have a wonderful week!


Tue, Nov 27 11:59am · Living Kidney Donation Surgery Play-by-Play in Transplant

At Mayo Clinic, we are lucky to have not just one, but three transplant centers with some of the best transplant doctors in the world. And not only do they have the best medical knowledge and bedside manner for our patients, they’re also willing to share their knowledge so we can provide helpful donation information to patients on our Connect page.

Dr. Caroline Jadlowiec is a kidney transplant surgeon from Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Dr. Jadlowiec has an interest in living donation, so we thought an interview with her would provide valuable information to those  interested in donating a kidney to someone in need. Recipients will also find this information helpful to understand what your donor may go through, and as a resource to send to your potential donors so they can make an informed decision about organ donation.

How can I best prepare for kidney donation surgery?

In the week leading up to your surgical date, the donor team will check in with you to make sure you haven’t experienced any changes to your health. You won’t be asked to make any

2018-11-21 Kidney donor surgery blog

specific changes in preparation for surgery other than continuing to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Most people undergoing removal of a kidney will spend one night in the hospital, so it’s helpful to pack a small bag with items you may need during your stay. You can find more ideas about what to pack in your bag on our blog. All jewelry usually needs to be removed prior to surgery so it may be better to leave those items at home. You will be asked to begin fasting (no food or drink by mouth) at a certain time the night before your surgery.

What factors go into choosing a surgery date and time?

Both the donor and recipient are considered when choosing a surgical date and time. The recipient needs to be medically ready to undergo a kidney transplant. Sometimes a donor is approved to donate, but the recipient may still have items that need to be completed to ensure that they are ready to have the transplant and the surgery will be safe for both parties. If the recipient is ready for surgery, we typically try to pick a date that fits the donor’s schedule. Sometimes the recipient may be quickly approaching the need for dialysis. In these cases, we try to schedule the transplant sooner rather than later so that the recipient can avoid dialysis.

Living donor surgeries can occur at any time of the day. The timing depends on many variables such as the other surgeries happening that day as well as the type of donation occurring (e.g. non-directed donation or paired donation). For donors participating in paired donation, their kidneys are often sent out to other centers as part of an exchange for a different kidney for the recipient. In these situations, the surgery usually occurs in the early morning so the kidney can travel timely to its destination.

Is it common for surgery dates to be moved?

It is uncommon for surgical dates to be changed, but it does occasionally occur. The recipient undergoes an updated pre-anesthesia evaluation the week leading up to their scheduled surgery. We also check in with the donor to ensure there have not been any changes to their medical history and health. If a new concern is identified, then the surgical date may need to be changed.

What are the first things to happen upon arriving at the hospital the day of the surgery?

After you check in, you will be brought to the preoperative area. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown and some blood work will be drawn. A small tube called an intravenous (IV) line will be placed into a vein in your arm or wrist; this line allows us to give you fluids and medications intravenously. You will meet with several providers including the preoperative nurse, the anesthesia team, the surgical team and the operating room nurse. They will ask you to confirm your medical history, medications, allergies and the procedure being performed.

How long does it generally take upon arriving at the hospital to be in surgery?

Typically, the check in process takes about 2 hours. During that time, you will meet with the team and take care of all the final testing and interviews. The time is used to make sure everything is ready for your surgery. This time could vary depending upon other cases and other patients in the operating rooms that day.

Is there ever a time when the surgery has to be done as an open surgery, rather than laparoscopic? And in what cases would that be necessary?

An open surgery for kidney donation is a very rare event (<1%). Unless otherwise discussed, the plan is to perform the surgery laparoscopically through small incisions. If something were to be encountered during the surgery, and the surgeon felt that it was unsafe to continue laparoscopically, then a larger incision might need to be made. This is a very rare event and when it does occur it’s done for the donor’s safety. The goal, first and foremost, is to make sure the donor is safe. Rarely, a donor surgery is planned as an open surgery due to complexity. This is usually a result of prior operations that make the operative field difficult and unsafe for laparoscopy.

What are the top 3 things I should know from a surgical perspective if I am planning to donate my kidney?

  1. Donors have a thorough evaluation to ensure that it is safe for them to donate. They meet with a nephrologist, surgeon, social worker, donor advocate, donor nurse, and dietitian as part of the process. It’s an opportunity to learn more about donation and your overall health.
  2. Although the surgery is done laparoscopically (through small incisions), people usually need 4-6 weeks to feel fully recovered.
  3. Donors are our heroes! Without their generous gift, transplant wouldn’t be possible. In general, complications from donor nephrectomies are rare. Complications that can happen include a hernia, surgical site infection, and bleeding with possible need for blood transfusion.The actual surgery takes about 2 hours. Besides surgery, there is also preparation and time to wake from anesthesia. In total time, it usually takes about 3-4 hours from when you leave your friends and family in the preoperative area to when you return back to the recovery room.

How long do the surgeries generally take? Are recipients and donors in the same operating room? Are they in surgery for the same amount of time?

The actual surgery takes about 2 hours. Besides surgery, there is also preparation and time to wake from anesthesia. In total time, it usually takes about 3-4 hours from when you leave your friends and family in the preoperative area to when you return back to the recovery room.

Recipients and donors always have separate surgical teams caring for them. The timing of the recipient and donor surgeries varies. Sometimes the surgeries both happen at the same time in different operating rooms. This is the most common situation. In other instances, a recipient may follow the donor in the same operating room in a tandem fashion. It is also possible that a donor and recipient may have surgeries on different days or several hours apart. This occurs when donors and recipients participate in paired donation.

What can I expect upon waking up from surgery?

Many people don’t remember much when they initially wake up. It is common to feel tired. You may have muscles aches, a sore throat, or nausea shortly after surgery. These problems typically don’t last long. As soon as you are awake, you will be encouraged to get out of bed and walk around. Most donors feel ready to dismiss from the hospital 24 hours later.

What are the top concerns I should watch for after surgery and dismissal from the hospital?

Before you are dismissed from the hospital, your nurse and the donor team will go over instructions regarding your diet, medications and care. There are no dietary restrictions after kidney donation. We recommend you slowly advance your diet as tolerated. Constipation is common in the first week after surgery so it’s recommended to use stool softeners. Keys to a fast recovery include moving around as much as possible, good oral intake (especially fluids), and taking stool softeners.

And now a more personal question for Dr. Jadlowiec…

What has been your favorite moment of being a kidney donor surgeon?

Getting the chance to work with donors before, during, and after their donation is a real privilege. I am always struck by how incredibly generous donors are. Through their gift, someone’s life is forever changed. Thank you all for what you do!




Tue, Nov 20 8:40am · This and That and Talk - My Transplant in Transplants

@taarthi – At Mayo Clinic, our post-kidney transplant patients could be scheduled for biopsy at 4 months, 1 year, 2 years, 4 years, 5 years, 7 years, and 10 years after transplant, depending upon the patient's situation. These biopsies show the doctors the inner workings of your kidney to be sure it is functioning correctly, and biopsy is one way to diagnose possible rejection. Not all clinics may have the same schedule, but I would definitely recommend doing what your team thinks you should do. I know it can be uncomfortable and even a bit painful to some people, but it's much better than the alterative of losing a kidney to rejection or non-function.

Tue, Nov 13 11:59am · New Transplant Blog Posts in Transplants

Good morning everyone!
Today's blog post might be helpful to anyone who is waiting for kidney transplant. Do you fully understand the differences between having a family member give you a kidney and getting a kidney from a stranger? Are there any major differences in the surgery or procedure? Today with the help of our Enterprise Kidney Paired Donor Coordinator, we posted a blog to answer these and other questions about nondirect kidney donation. Feel free to share this information with anyone you think might find it useful.