Transplant & coronavirus

Are transplant recipients at higher risk due to COVID-19?

Because transplant recipients take immunosuppressive drugs, they have a higher risk of infection from viruses such as cold or flu. To lower the chance of getting the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, transplant patients should follow the CDC’s guidance on how to avoid catching or spreading germs, and contact their health care professional if they develop symptoms of COVID-19.

Statement from the American Society of Transplantation (AST):
We do not have specific information on whether COVID-19 infection will be more severe in transplant recipients compared to healthy people; however, other viruses often cause more severe disease in people whose immune system is low, such as transplant recipients.

Is a living donor at higher risk for COVID-19?

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

Are people born with one kidney at higher risk for COVID-19?

No specific information exists about there being a higher risk for COVID-19 in people who have a single kidney as compared with the general population.

How can COVID-19 affect transplant surgeries?

Statement from the American Society of Transplantation:
The risk of acquiring COVID-19 from organ donation is low. Donors are being 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.

Should I consider a kidney from someone who's had COVID-19?

You will need to discuss this with your transplant team. 

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

Can I still get evaluated for transplant if I've had COVID-19?

Yes, 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 link for the list of transplant centers and their contact information.

If I have COVID-19, can that delay my transplant evaluation?

Yes, if you or your living donor are still infectious.

How can I find a kidney donor now?

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 transmitting disease through solid organ transplantation is not known at this time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 website provides the most up to date information regarding recommended precautions, global risk assessment, and travel.