You might have decided to donate or are just curious about what is entailed in testing for kidney donation. Either way, information that will be given is first-hand. I went through the testing and was able to be the match and donated a kidney to my niece on December 20, 2016. By sharing information, it is my hope to encourage someone else to step up and help save a life.
The first step before testing begins is the application process, where the Living Donor Coordinator has you fill out some forms and has a preliminary conversation with you prior to starting the testing. It is their intent to establish that you’re in the right state of mind for donation and the donor and recipient should have compatible blood types. Once that is established the testing proceeds as follows:
- 24 Hour urine sample. You will be given a jug and asked to collect your urine. The sample for the start time is discarded, but that time is recorded. You then collect samples for twenty four hours and keep it on ice. You will then take it to the lab shortly after collection has ended that day. The urine is tested for ACR (Albumin to Creatinine Ratio) and urine creatinine clearance to ensure you don’t have signs of kidney disease. When your sample is turned in you will have blood drawn as well.
- Blood Test. The blood is tested to determine the GFR (Glomerular Filltration Rate). This is calculated from the blood creatinine levels and indicates the rate of filtration by the kidneys. It helps the doctor know whether you have kidney disease and what stage. Your blood is also checked for glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol etc. to ensure you do not have or might develop heart disease or diabetes. In my case, the A1C test showed a slightly high blood sugar so a more sensitive test called the Fructosimide test was performed and my levels were normal.
- Tissue Cross match Test. This is also blood samples that are sent to the lab and certain markers are compared to the recipient’s blood make sure you’re a match and the recipient has very little chance of rejection. In my case, the samples were tested at Johns Hopkins.
- CT Scan of the kidneys. This is to determine that you’re anatomically suitable to donate a kidney.
- Chest X-ray
Expect to have urine, blood work and EKG repeated the week of the surgery.