Kidney transplant center in Largo, Florida
If you experience renal failure, The Transplant Institute of Florida’s kidney transplantation program at Largo Medical Center offers highly specialized services to serve you and others in Largo and beyond.
We are the first hospital in Florida to perform robotic live kidney donation, a process which helps increase the donor pool and shortens wait times for individuals in need of donor kidneys. We are also approved by United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) for kidney and liver transplantation.
To learn more about the Transplant Institute of Florida, please call (727) 588-5728.
Kidney failure treatments
Each treatment choice should be discussed with your kidney doctor (nephrologist), so you can make a decision together about what will be best for your care.
Our specialized treatment options for kidney failure include:
- Hemodialysis—treatments done in clinic setting, usually three times per week
- Peritoneal dialysis—daily treatments done at home, usually seven days per week
- Transplantation—transplant surgery with anti-rejection medications daily
Kidney transplant qualifying process
At Largo Medical, we not only provide expert transplantation services, but we walk with you to provide education and information every step of the way. If you have chosen transplantation as a treatment option for your kidney failure, there are several steps to begin the process to qualify as a transplant candidate. First, your nephrologist or dialysis center will refer you to the transplant program. You can also self-refer to the program, if necessary.
Pre-transplant education class
Once you have been referred to the program, you will be invited to attend our pre-transplant education class. This mandatory class will be your first opportunity to explore the option of kidney transplantation and whether it is the right treatment for you.
This session is designed to help familiarize you with getting prepared for evaluation, to testing, being placed on the waiting list and going home after the transplant surgery. TIF requires all patients to bring a family member or friend with them to this session. All attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions throughout this class.
Beginning kidney transplant evaluation
To determine if you are an eligible kidney transplant candidate for kidney transplantation—according to medical and psychological critieria—you will undergo a qualifying process. The process consists of a thorough evaluation of lab and diagnostic testing as well as meetings and consultations with the full transplant team.
Tests and screenings required for kidney transplant candidates
A series of blood tests are required of all transplant candidates. Additionally, your evaluation process will require diagnostic imaging tests, including:
- Chest X-ray
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan
Our transplant physicians will review all your test results. In some cases, further testing is required.
Appointments with kidney transplant team
Transplant candidates will be scheduled to meet individually with each of the following members of the transplantation team:
- Financial coordinator
- Social worker
- Transplant coordinator
- Transplant nephrologist
- Transplant pharmacist
- Transplant surgeon
Final kidney transplant evaluation review
Once the evaluation appointments and all diagnostic testing has been completed, the transplant coordinator will present your results to the Medical Review Board (MRB).
The MRB, made up of many members of the transplant team, reviews each candidate's records for completion before making a collective decision. If you are found suitable for transplantation, your name will be placed on the national organ waiting list.
Kidney transplant process
Once a kidney has been identified as a possible match for you, a transplant coordinator will call you with instructions on how to proceed.
A special blood test called a "crossmatch" will be performed in the lab with your blood and the kidney donor's blood to assess compatibility. If you are found to be compatible, the kidney transplant surgery will proceed as planned. If you are found to be incompatible, you will still remain on the list for the next available kidney.
- Surgery—The kidney transplantation surgery takes about two to four hours to complete.
- Hospitalization—The average hospital stay after a kidney transplant is about five to seven days. After surgery, the kidney recipient usually spends the first 24 to 48 hours in the state-of-the-art Transplant Intensive Care Unit (TICU) before being transferred to the transplant unit for the remainder of the hospital stay.
- Risks—With all surgeries, there is the risk of complications, such as bleeding, pneumonia, blood clot formation, infection, wound problems and cardiac issues. The additional risks of transplant surgery include the possibility of rejection of the kidney or delayed function of the kidney. Any of these issues could prolong your hospital stay.
Kidney transplant follow-up care
Your follow-up care is crucial to the success of your kidney transplant. Transplant Institute of Florida offers a post-kidney transplant clinic at varying times Monday through Friday. Additionally, we will provide your physician with regular updates and reports on your progress.
- Clinic visits—Initially, you will be required to visit the clinic three times per week. Each visit lasts approximately four hours and includes lab work and visits with physicians or nurse practitioners and transplant coordinators. After one month, if everything is stable, the frequency of the visits will be decreased to twice per week, then eventually once per week. At the end of the six-month period, you will be referred back to your nephrologist for routine care. You will have annual follow-ups at the transplant clinic.
- Medications—All transplant recipients are required to take anti-rejection medication for as long as they have the transplant. Without these medications, the body recognizes the kidney as something foreign and works to reject it. You will receive personal instructions on how to take your medications before being discharged from the hospital.
- Financial responsibilities—The anti-rejection medications needed after transplantation can be expensive, depending on your insurance coverage. It is important to plan for these added expenses, as well as the expense of frequent trips to the transplant clinic and uncompensated time off work. Our financial coordinators and social workers will work with you to develop a financial plan before your actual transplant takes place.
Kidney donations from living donors
One option available to some kidney transplant patients is to receive a kidney from a living donor. We encourage live kidney donation as a central part of our program because of its multiple advantages and benefits.
The living donor may be a blood relative, spouse or friend.
Robotic live kidney donation
We are the first hospital in Florida to perform robotic nephrectomies, surgical kidney removals, for living organ donors.
Because of this robotic technology, living kidney donation can be performed in a shorter period of time, and the donors can go home sooner than ever before with less pain and shorter recovery times.
Additionally, the benefits of live kidney donation include:
- Better graft survival
- Immediate graft function
- Increased donor pool
- Shorter times on organ donor waiting lists