Once you have been listed with UNOS, you will begin the waiting period and you may be called for transplant surgery at any time. This waiting time varies depending upon organ availability and the severity of your illness. During this time, you will be seen in the transplant clinic and will need to have follow-up testing at regular intervals in order to maintain your position on the UNOS waiting list.
It is very important that you contact the transplant center with any changes such as your phone number, address and insurance coverage. If you are hospitalized and/or your medical condition worsens, you must contact your coordinator. It may be helpful to carry this contact information with you at all times should any question, concern or worsening in your clinical condition arises unexpectedly.
While actively listed and awaiting “the call” for intestinal transplant surgery, you will need to be available at all times. Timing of organ availability is unpredictable, so you may receive a call from your coordinator to come to the hospital any time of day or night. When an organ does become available, you will be required to travel to the Cleveland Clinic immediately. The transplant will usually occur within a few hours of initial contact. If you require more than a 2 hour drive to reach the transplant center, you may need to be flown in. This option will be discussed and arrangements will be made at the time of listing.
Intestinal transplant is performed using organs from cadaveric donors. A cadaveric donor is an individual who has sustained brain death and consent has been obtained for organ donation. Living donor intestinal transplantation has a very limited role (as opposed to kidney and liver transplant). Living donation consists of procuring part of the intestine from a healthy individual for a recipient who is usually a small infant.
Organ donation is critical to the success of intestinal transplantation. The United States is divided into regions and each region is in turn divided in different Organ Procuring Organizations (OPOs) in order to facilitate and optimize the process of organ donation, procurement and organ allocation. Cleveland Clinic in located in Region 10, which includes all of Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.