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Kidney Transplant program

Pre-transplant weight loss program

What is the weight loss program for kidney transplant candidates?

Obesity is associated with increased risk of transplant-related complications, such as poor wound healing after surgery, wound dehiscence, new-onset diabetes, and delayed graft function. St. Michael’s offers a weight loss program for transplant candidates so that all patients can optimize their chances for a successful transplant. Patients gain access to a registered dietitian so they can lose excess body weight before transplant. There is no cost to the patient to participate.

The weight loss program will provide opportunities for patients with a BMI ≥ 40kg/m² to make lifestyle changes under the guidance of a registered dietitian. The patient will have access to follow up with the same dietitian after transplant to maintain their weight loss and follow a balanced diet.

The weight loss program is structured over six months. Patients will receive: 

  • First month: four one-on-one appointments with the dietitian (60 minutes each)
  • Month two to six: 10 one-on-one follow up appointments with the dietitian (30 minutes each)
  • Group classes taught by other allied health professionals to help with lifestyle changes

What are the goals of the weight loss program?

  • Gain skills in portion control with a meal plan prescription
  • Weight loss to achieve a BMI of under 40kg/m²
  • Make long-lasting behavioral changes
  • Build relationships and gain peer support with other transplant candidates

Who is eligible and how are patients referred?

Patients with a BMI ≥40kg/m² will be educated about the program by the pre-transplant nurse at St. Michael’s Hospital.  Based on the patient’s interest and readiness to change, they will be referred to the dietitian to set up appointments.