Renal Transplant Program


Lilly Barba, M.D. Medical Director, Renal Transplant Program

Lilly Barba, M.D.
Medical Director, Renal Transplant Program

The Harbor-UCLA Transplant center is one of a selected group of Southern California medical centers providing renal transplantation services. We are a member of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), which is the central agency in the United States responsible for equitable allocation of organs. Our transplant program offers the most thorough and sophisticated treatments available. The transplant team consists of physician and surgeon specialists, nurse coordinators, transplant social worker and dietician. The team is dedicated to provide patients with an efficient pre-transplant evaluation and a smooth transition into the transplant phase. Our patients enjoy the special Renal Transplant Unit in a hospital devoted to meeting the physical, psycho-social and spiritual needs of each patient.

Renal Transplant Referral

Most patients are referred to the transplant program by their primary physician or specialist. Patients may also contact the transplant program on their own initiative. The transplant evaluation process begins with a call to the transplant office (310-222-2728).

Pre-transplant Evaluation

All transplant candidates are first seen and examined by a transplant physician specialist. Each patient receives extensive one-on-one instruction and education by each member of the multidisciplinary transplant team that includes the physician, nurse coordinator, social worker, and dietitian. Appropriate candidates are referred for a comprehensive series of pre-transplant laboratory and radiographic tests. After a candidate is accepted for transplantation, his or her name is added to the regional and national lists of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS). The allocation of organs is based upon a point system which takes into account medical history, time on the waiting list and blood type compatibility.

In United States, there is an ongoing organ shortage and transplant candidates may be on the waiting lists for several years. The identification of possible living donors is also an important part of the pre-transplant screening process. Friends and family members of patients are often intricately involved in the care process, and members of the Harbor-UCLA transplant team are dedicated to helping patients and their loved ones understand the transplant process and answer any questions.

The Transplant Surgery

When a compatible kidney becomes available, the transplant patient is immediately contacted by a nurse coordinator and admitted to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Renal Transplant Unit. At this time, appropriate history and physical exam as well as laboratory and radiographic testing is obtained to ensure the patient’s readiness for the transplant surgery.

The transplant surgery lasts approximately three hours. The length of hospital stay is determined by a number of factors, including the overall health of the patient before surgery and kidney function post-transplant. The average hospital stay for a deceased or living donor transplant is five to seven days. During this time, patients receive extensive education regarding their medication regimen and post-transplant care from the transplant team as well as the nursing staff in the Renal Transplant Unit.

Post-Transplant Follow up

After discharge from the hospital, the transplant physicians are responsible for the care of the patient for the first 3 months post-transplantation. Patients are followed several times a week in the post-transplant clinic. This is a period when medications are precisely adjusted with close monitoring of the kidney function. After this initial period, patients are seen periodically as determined by their condition. At this time, we welcome the referring physician to participate in the post-transplant care of the patients.

Do You Have a Potential Kidney Transplant Patient?

You can refer your patients to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Renal Transplant Program with confidence. Our program emphasizes long-term patient survival and gra