Kidney acceptance criteria

To be accepted onto the transplant waiting list for a kidney, a patient would be expected to be alive in five years and to be either on dialysis or starting dialysis within 6 months of joining the waiting list.

Kidneys are offered for transplantation for a given patient. The offer is made to the transplant centre by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT). In deciding to accept the kidney offer the transplant centre decides whether the kidney is appropriate for that recipient. Factors which may affect the decision include:

  • Age for the donor, there is often a reluctance to put a kidney from a very old donor into a very young recipient, and vice versa.
  • Donor factors such as a history of cancer or other condition where there is a risk that there may be transmission to the recipient. Centres are encouraged to ask recipients when they are listed for transplantation what sort of donor risks they are willing to take (such as accepting a kidney from a donor with a brain tumour) and this will be taken into account in making the decision.
  • Recipient factors: A patient who has an unusual tissue type or who is highly sensitised will have very few offers so a centre is more likely to recommend accepting a higher risk organ for such a recipient than for a person who joined the waiting list yesterday.

The decision as to whether or not to accept a kidney offer is made by the recipient transplant centre. Each centre is encouraged to discuss with patients at the time of listing what sort of donor would be acceptable. These criteria can be changed by the patient at any time.

The proportion of offers that a centre accepts and declines is monitored and reported in the annual report.

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