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Kidney Transplant program

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions for St. Michael’s Hospital kidney transplant patients

There is a lot of information circulating about COVID-19, and we understand that you may have many questions related to your care. Please read this information before calling the transplant clinic. We are experiencing a high number of calls and may take longer than usual to get back to you.

Information is changing quickly and we will do our best to keep this information updated, but for the most up-to-date and detailed information, please visit Toronto Public Health or Ontario Ministry of Health.

I am waiting for a transplant – what is happening with my transplant?

We have been watching the situation very closely and have decided to start doing some kidney transplants again. St. Michael’s Hospital has the ability to take care of you safely during your transplant admission. Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) is screening all potential deceased donors for COVID-19. Kidneys from people with active COVID-19 infection are not used.

We will continue to monitor the situation in our community and work with transplant centres across Ontario. As the situation improves, we will be able to do more transplants. However, if we are concerned it is not reasonably safe, we may need to stop doing transplants again.

Do I have to come to the hospital for appointments?

If you are waiting for a transplant:

Some of the appointments to get ready for transplant have to be done in person and you will need to come to the hospital. We try to minimize the number of times you must come to the hospital, so some appointments may be offered over the phone or with a video call such as Zoom.

If you have had a transplant:

It is important for people with a transplant to continue to do blood tests and come to clinic. We try to minimize the number of times you must leave the house for appointments. Blood tests are very important for us to check how your transplant is working and that the dose of your anti-rejection medicine is safe.

If you recently had a transplant, seeing you at clinic is important so we can make sure you are healing well. If you had a transplant more than six months ago, we may be able to do your clinic visit over the phone.

Is it safe for me to go to the hospital for appointments?

St. Michael’s is limiting the number of patients and visitors that come into the hospital and is screening everyone who enters the hospital for symptoms. We are rescheduling many appointments, especially if you are waiting for a transplant or it has been more than a year since your transplant. Please be advised that if you come to the hospital, we are not allowing family/support persons (visitors) in the hospital at this time to keep our patients, families, staff and physicians safe. See more information here.

Please do not come to the transplant clinic if you are sick or have travelled in the last 14 days. Call the clinic first to check if you can still come. We cannot see you without an appointment.

Are transplant recipients at higher risk of severe outcomes if they get COVID-19?

We do not have specific information on whether the COVID-19 infection is more severe in transplant recipients compared to healthy people; however, other viruses often cause more severe disease in people whose immune system is low, such as transplant recipients. For this reason, it is important to take precautions to prevent infection.

Currently, there is no approved vaccine or medication to treat or prevent COVID-19 but clinical trials are in development. People are thought to be most contagious when they have symptoms, but some people may carry the virus even if they are not showing symptoms or are only mildly ill.

For more information, keep an eye on the Unity Health COVID-19 information page for patients and families.

The content on this website is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice.