If you are accepted as a transplant candidate, your name will be placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list, which has strict regulations. Several factors, including what organ is required, affect your placement and priority on the list.
Once your evaluation is complete and the transplant committee has decided that you are an organ transplant candidate, you will be placed on a transplant waiting list with UNOS.
What to do While You’re on the Waiting List
Being on the transplant waiting list does not mean that all you do is wait. It is important that you continue to be in contact with the transplant team and take an active role in maintaining your health. Here is a list of things to do while waiting for a transplant.
- Make sure the transplant team has all your current contact information, such as your home, cell and pager number and an alternate contact phone number such as a relative, neighbor or close friend. When an organ becomes available, the transplant team must be able to reach you at any time.
- Make sure that you have kept up with all necessary lab work and other necessary tests.
- Stay healthy and work on improving your health to help prevent complications.
Inform the transplant team of any changes in your health, family, and financial situation.
Wait Time for Organs and Organ Allocation
The nation’s transplant system is managed by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) known as the Organ Procurement Transplant Network (OPTN). The organizations are under contract from the federal government and are non-profit charitable organizations. They are responsible for the oversight of transplant programs and for defining policies that make the best use of donated organs.
Wait Time for a Kidney Transplant
The transplant team will provide information about the choices you have about the types of organ offers you can accept. Please know that you will be called for all organ offers that are appropriate for you. You will be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C before and after transplant.
The average waiting time for a kidney at UAMS depends on many things. This includes your blood type, if you have any preformed antibodies, and how long you have been waiting. The average wait time for organs at UAMS is 2-5 years, depending on your blood type.
Wait Time for a Liver Transplant
The allocation of available livers is based on the MELD-Na (Model of End Stage Liver Disease) and the compatibility of the blood type. This scoring system utilizes serum sodium, serum bilirubin, serum creatinine and INR to calculate the score by a mathematical program. The scores range from 6 to values over 40. The cap for MELD-Na will be 40. This means that patients with MELD-Na scores higher than 40 would receive no more priority than a patient with 40. Waiting time, except as a tie-breaker for patients with the same MELD-Na score, has been eliminated as a criterion for liver allocation. Status 1 is reserved for the patient with acute hepatic failure.
- Once you are on the list, depending on your MELD-Na score, it will be necessary to periodically draw blood so we can recertify your MELD-Na. We will review with you the dates we require lab. There are some other factors that can influence the MELD-Na score that is associated with a patient’s specific disease.