Transplant Decision

To decide whether a kidney transplant is the right treatment for your child, the transplant team at Seattle Children's Hospital will carefully assess your child's:

  • Medical need for transplant (urgency)
  • Blood and diagnostic tests
  • Medical history, including previous surgery
  • Physical exam

We also consider what we learned in our meetings with your family.

The decision for a kidney transplant may take several months, depending on your child's condition.

Once all of your child's information and test results are ready, the entire transplant team will meet to make the decision. A member of the team will communicate the recommendation to you by phone or at your child's next scheduled clinic visit. You will also receive a summary notice in writing. The decision could include any of the following:

  • Your child is ready to be listed for transplant now.
  • Transplant is not the best option for your child.
  • Your child may be a candidate for transplant in the future; however, your child is not clinically ready for transplant at this time.

Several factors influence our decision to go ahead with a kidney transplant or wait.

In some cases, Seattle Children's will perform a kidney transplant on a child who does not yet have kidney failure, but who will soon. This is called a preemptive kidney transplant, and the goal is to allow the child to grow and develop more normally as soon as possible.

Other children need more time on dialysis in order to stabilize. Or they may need to receive immunizations, dental work or other surgery in order to get them ready for transplant.

If a child is already very underdeveloped due to a failing kidney, we may postpone transplant until we have given growth hormone. Growth hormone is currently not given after a transplantation, so we aim to increase the child's height before surgery.

If the team decides that your child is an immediate candidate for kidney transplant and you as a family agree, your child will be placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) transplant waiting list, unless your child is receiving a living donor organ.