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How to get ready for your organ transplant

Preparation for an organ transplant will vary depending on the procedure being carried out. The transplant centre or hospital will give specific advice.

When a donor match is found, the transplant centre will call the patient. They will want to check that no new medical problems have occurred which might affect whether the operation can go ahead.

They will then give instructions on when to go to the centre. Timing may be critical depending on the circumstances around the donated organ.

They will usually explain not to eat or drink anything else, to take along all current medicines as well as clothes and essentials for your stay in hospital.

On arrival at the hospital, the patient will be admitted for further checks that will be done before being given general anaesthetic ahead of surgery.

Other preparations

Once you learn you are a candidate for an organ transplant, you may think you can sit back, relax a little, and wait for that phone call telling you it's time for surgery.

Nothing could be further from the truth, say transplant experts.

The time before the transplant is the best time to devote yourself to preparing mentally and physically. 

While your transplant team can tell you what to expect, they probably haven't experienced it first-hand. So it is important to share your thoughts and needs with the team of experts who will be looking after you. Experts say it can also be beneficial to talk to someone who has had an organ transplant like the one you are waiting for. Ask your doctor to help you identify someone.

While the waiting time for your organ transplant might seem difficult, experts say patients should use this time to come to grips with what is  happening. It can take a few months to get used to the idea of an organ transplant and how it will change your life.

Looking at your lifestyle before an organ transplant

Usually, organ transplant candidates need to make some substantial lifestyle changes, such as losing a moderate or large amount of weight, eating a healthy balanced diet, taking exercise before – and when advised after recovery and stopping smoking.

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on September 21, 2012

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