Jefferson Health

Kidney Transplant

Kidney transplants are performed when your kidney failure is so advanced that dialysis is necessary to remain healthy. Treatment of your kidney disease and the transplant process is a rigorous one, but you will benefit from Jefferson's multidisciplinary approach with access to various experts who will guide you and your family from evaluation through post-operative recovery. Our nephrologists (kidney specialists) and transplant surgeons staff Jefferson's extensive Kidney Transplant Program.

How is a Kidney Transplant Performed?

At Jefferson, nearly all transplants are performed by laparoscopic nephrectomy, a procedure that is less traumatic for the donor than traditional, open-surgery kidney removal. Patients experience less pain after laporoscopic surgery and are able to move about within a day or so. Many patients can return to work and recreation within two to three weeks. We also provide long-term follow-up care through clinical visits and monitored laboratory studies.

While not a cure, kidney transplantation enables you to resume a healthier, independent lifestyle without the need for dialysis. Our team continues to search for new ways to assist patients in seeking a better quality of life through kidney transplant.

Why Choose Jefferson for a Kidney Transplant in Philadelphia?

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which administers the nation's policies on organ transplantation and procurement, designated Jefferson as a kidney transplant program for both live donor and deceased donor kidneys.

The surgeons of Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals' nationally recognized kidney transplantation program perform between 80 and 100 live and cadaveric kidney transplants each year, with results that exceed Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) benchmarks: graft survival rates of over 94 percent and patient survival rates of over 96 percent.*

Rated a Top Hospital for Kidney Disease by Philadelphia magazine, we support both donors and recipients with state-of-the-art technology and sophisticated techniques. You'll be cared for by a team of highly specialized nurses and physicians, deeply experienced in the operation you are now considering.

*United Network for Organ Sharing, July 2010 report


Robert V. Nicoletti's profile photo

The Nicoletti Kidney Transplant Center

Due to a generous gift from the Robert V. Nicoletti Family trust, Jefferson Health has been able to create a center that specializes in living kidney donation. The Center is a proud part of our Kidney Transplant Program.


Waiting List – Deceased Donor Kidney Transplant

Patients at Jefferson waiting for a deceased donor kidney, remain on the list for a shorter length of time than at any center in the area, according to SRTR data. We facilitate this by actively maintaining the list, making sure that patients submit routine blood samples for tissue typing, keep their scheduled appointments, and fulfill any other requirements that will allow them to be ready when a suitable organ is available. Learn more about deceased donor kidney transplants.

Waiting List – Living Donor Kidney Transplant

It has been established that it is a better option to have a live donation if a suitable donor can be found. On average, kidneys from living donors last twice as long as kidneys from deceased donors. Live donation already accounts for 30 to 40 percent of our kidney transplants, and we are committed to raising that number.

Because the need for donated organs is so critical, Jefferson is a member of the New England Program for Kidney Exchange (NEPKE), the Alliance for Paired Donation, and the Paired Donor Network, programs that match such donor-recipient pairs with other pairs so that two patients receive living kidneys. Learn more about living donor kidney transplants.

Waiting List – Dual Organ Transplant

For some patients with diabetes who are in kidney failure, a kidney and pancreas transplant is often an optimal treatment option. A majority of patients who receive a dual transplant benefit from restored quality of life – in many cases, no longer needing dialysis or insulin. For patients awaiting this dual transplant, the pancreas allocation determines the time to transplantation and this means that patients awaiting the dual pancreas/kidney transplant almost always will be transplanted sooner than patients awaiting a kidney alone.

Patients in need of kidney and pancreas transplantation are well-advised to seek out the support of Jefferson. Located in Philadelphia, Jefferson's Kidney Transplant Program is in a geographic area that is served by the Gift of Life OPO. This OPO aggressively pursues pancreas procurement and has a higher rate of procurement of this organ than many other OPOs, enabling patients to receive this dual transplantation much more quickly than they could in other parts of the United States. Learn more about dual organ transplants.

 

Kidney Transplantation for Patients with HIV

At Jefferson, we are committed to providing transplant therapies to appropriate candidates. We have developed protocols for HIV patients who need a kidney transplant.

Pre-transplant evaluation for patients with HIV requires consultation with a Jefferson infectious disease specialist. Further follow-up with the specialist is required and continues after transplantation.

Post-Transplant Care

If you receive a kidney transplant at Jefferson, your transplant team will follow you for the life of the organ. After three months, we share your follow-up with your referring nephrologists, whose offices are often closer to home and more convenient. Your appointments at Jefferson are scheduled at longer intervals as the months and years pass. Should there be a crisis, however, such as hospitalization, we are available 24/7 to you via a dedicated hotline.

To minimize side effects, it is our philosophy to be very aggressive in weaning our transplant patients from corticosteroids and other immunosuppressive medications, working toward the lowest therapeutic dose.

Meeting the Needs of Transplant Families

Jefferson is proud to inform our transplant patients and their families about the Gift of Life Family House services. The program provides temporary lodging and support services for families whose loved ones are undergoing a transplant at Jefferson.