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Living donation & COVID-19

Living donor risk

No specific information exists about there being a higher risk for COVID-19 in living donors as compared with the general population.

Finding a living donor during COVID-19

Check out NKF’s THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE resources for tips on sharing your story to find a living kidney donor.

Check with your transplant center about whether they are currently evaluating potential living donors in light of COVID-19.

Are those who pass due to COVID-19 eligible organ donors?

The risk of acquiring COVID-19 from organ donation is low. Donated kidneys are screened for COVID-19. If a kidney tests positive for COVID-19, the organ cannot be used for transplantation.

Transplant evaluation and surgery

Evaluation after having COVID-19

You can still receive an evaluation after having COVID-19, but your healthcare team will need to tell you when you will be free from infection. Also, depending on your current health status and the impact of COVID-19 on hospital staff and supplies, your transplant may be delayed or postponed. You should discuss this with your transplant center.

Click here for the list of transplant centers and their contact information.

Transplant surgeries not postponed

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) made recommendations about elective surgeries and non-essential procedures that include transplantation. Transplants should not be postponed in “high acuity/unhealthy patients.” Some centers may still need to look at temporarily putting elective living donor transplantation or non-urgent deceased donor transplants on hold.

Transplant centers will base these decisions on issues such as the level of circulating COVID-19 infection in their areas and/or operational issues (such as testing availability, bed space, availability of basic supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment).

AST on COVID-19 and organ donation

The risk of acquiring COVID-19 from organ donation is low. Donors are screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure history. Living donors who have been to high-risk areas or exposed to someone diagnosed or being evaluated for COVID-19 infection are generally being asked to postpone donation for 14 to 28 days after returning. Some organ procurement organizations are testing some or all donors for COVID-19.

Also, living donors are being asked to not travel to high-risk areas for at least 14 days before donation and monitor for symptoms. Information about recent travel and possible exposure is also asked about deceased donors to help determine if it is safe to use them for organ and tissue donation.

Transplant rejection treatment

Most rejection episodes do not have symptoms and are usually found through routine bloodwork.

However, if symptoms do occur the most common signs of rejection are:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Fever of 101° or greater
  • Decreased urine output
  • Weight gain
  • Pain or tenderness over transplant
  • Fatigue

If you have signs or symptoms of kidney transplant rejection, contact your transplant team immediately. Your transplant team will decide what other tests and treatments you may need.

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