Cleveland Clinic has designated facilities and support services to assist patients and their families throughout the entire transplant process. Transplant patients at Cleveland Clinic receive the highest-quality medical and nursing care.
The transplant process begins with the patient’s referral to the kidney transplant program. Patients may be referred by their nephrologist or dialysis unit, or they may contact the pre-transplant office themselves.
Contact the pre-transplant office to begin the referral process locally at 216.444.6996 or toll-free 800.223.2273 ext. 46996. Patient referrals can also be faxed to the kidney transplant program at 216.445.8141.
Our secure online service, Dr.Connect, provides referring physicians access to patient’s treatment progress with streamlined communication from Cleveland Clinic physicians to your office, allowing continued participation in the ongoing care of patients. With the best possible treatment plans and coordinated care, our team approach benefits both the patient and the referring physician.
Patients will complete a medical interview over the phone with a member of the pre-transplant department staff.
A letter will be sent to the patient and referring physician indicating the routine health maintenance testing necessary prior to beginning the evaluation process. The most efficient way to progress through the evaluation is to have this testing completed prior to the initial evaluation appointments. Testing completed within the past year is acceptable (PAP test & colonoscopy may be longer depending upon results/recommendations).
- PAP test – all females age 18 and older
- Mammogram – all females age 40 and older
- Colonoscopy – all patients age 50 and older
- Cardiac Stress Test – all patients age 40 and older
- Chest X-Ray – all patients
- Dental Clearance – if required by insurance
- Nutritional Evaluation – all patients on dialysis (a form will be sent to the patient)
Patients that are actively smoking will be offered a screening visit with one of the transplant nephrologists and a referral to Cleveland Clinic’s smoking cessation program. Patients will be considered for a full transplant evaluation following program completion. Patients with a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 38 will be offered a screening visit with one of the transplant nephrologists and a referral to the Bariatric Institute for development of a weight reduction program. Patients will be considered for a full evaluation once their weight loss goals have been met.
Patients will be scheduled to see the transplant team to assess their transplant candidacy.
The evaluation will consist of:
- Medical Evaluation
- Psychosocial Evaluation
- Transplant Education
- Financial Evaluation
- Lab work and CT Scan of the abdomen and pelvis
Based upon the physicians’ findings during the evaluation appointments, additional testing and consults may be needed. Once the evaluation is complete, the patient’s chart will be reviewed by the physicians and then the patient will be presented at the selection committee. The selection committee may approve the patient for listing, require additional information prior to making a decision, or determine that the patient is not a candidate for transplantation. The patient, referring physician, and dialysis unit (if applicable) will receive letters notifying of the committee’s decision.
Once a patient has been approved for transplant listing, insurance authorization will be obtained if needed prior to being placed on the national transplant waiting list.
Waiting for Transplant
Once patients have been placed on the transplant waiting list, it is important that the kidney transplant program be notified of any changes in the patient’s condition such as:
- Changes in cardiac (heart) or pulmonary (lung) status
- Active infections
- New medical diagnoses
- Surgeries and procedures
- Blood transfusions
- Addition of anticoagulant medications (blood thinners)
It is also important for the transplant program to receive any updated testing results that have been performed on the patient, such as stress tests, cardiac catheterization, carotid ultrasound, CT scans, etc. These results should be faxed to the transplant program at 216.445.8141.
It is very important that patients waiting for transplant contact our office with any changes in their address or phone number. Patients must also contact our Financial Coordinator at 216.444.9806 with any changes in their insurance coverage.