What tests will I need to do and why?

You will need to do a number of tests including:

  • blood tests
  • urine tests
  • a chest X-ray to check how well your lungs are working, that
    there is no fluid on your lungs and the size of your heart
  • an electrocardiogram (ECG). 

The ECG is like an electrical photograph of your heart that records the
rhythm of your heart and gives important information about how well your
heart is working.

Other heart tests

If you are over 40 years of age and have a history of heart disease
or diabetes, you will have more heart tests. 

These extra tests might include tests to check how well your heart works
under stress. You will have to go to a hospital or a clinic to have these
'stress tests', which are done in monitored and safe environments. You will
be put on a treadmill to exercise or be given some medicine to increase your
heart rate while the technicians scan your heart to ensure that it can cope
with the stress.

If any of these tests show you have a problem, you will need to see a
heart specialist to see whether it is safe enough for you to have a transplant operation.

Blood tests

Blood tests are a big part of your workup. 

Your blood tests will check your blood clotting times, liver function
and protein levels.

Your blood will also be tested for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and
other viruses you might have.

Blood tests are also done to check what your blood group is and that
your blood is compatible with any possible donor’s blood.

Your blood will also be tested to see if you have antibodies against
the kidney of any possible donor.

Antibodies are proteins that help the immune system fight anything that
it does not recognise as its own, like bacteria and viruses.

Your blood test may show that you have antibodies against your
donor. This is called a positive cross-match.

Other tests

Some transplant teams may ask you to have a dental check as well. The
dental check will make sure you don’t have any infections in your gums and teeth.

If you are a man over 50 years, you will need to have a blood test to
check for prostate cancer.

If you have a family history of prostate cancer and are over 40 years, you will also need to do this test.

If you are a woman, you will need to have a cervical smear test to check for cancer of the cervix.

If you are a woman over 45 years, you will also need to have a mammogram test to check for breast cancer.

These tests need to be arranged through your family doctor.