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School of Medicine
Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Program
Established in 1968, the Johns Hopkins Kidney Transplant Program was one of the first in the nation, and has a long history of pioneering innovations geared toward expanding options for patients with renal failure. Ranked in the top five percent of all the kidney/pancreas transplant programs in the world, Johns Hopkins is responsible for the development of numerous procedures that have set the standard in kidney transplantation.
Our survival rates are consistently higher than the national average, and our kidney transplant wait times are significantly lower than typical wait times - often by as much as a year or more.
Why Come to Johns Hopkins for a Kidney Transplant
Are you or a loved one in need of a kidney transplant? At Johns Hopkins, our surgeons perform cutting-edge transplantations for patients who have been turned away by other programs; offer shorter wait times of all regional hospitals; and offer minimally invasive surgery, which can lead to quicker recovery times. Benjamin Philosophe, M.D., Ph.D., surgical director of the Comprehensive Transplant Center, elaborates.
- Why would I need a kidney transplant?
- Am I eligible for a kidney transplant?
- I need a kidney transplant. Do I need a pancreas transplant too?
- Can I have a living donor? My family wants to help.
- How long will I wait for a new kidney?
- What is the surgery like?
There are several situations where a kidney transplant may be considered a viable option. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- adult onset, or type 2
- juvenile diabetes, or type 1
- congenital renal obstructive disorders leading to hydronephrosis, including the following:
- ureteropelvic junction obstruction
- vesicoureteral reflux
- posterior urethral valves
- prune belly syndrome
- congenital nephrotic syndrome
- Alport syndrome
- nephropathic and juvenile cystinosis
- polycystic kidney disease
- nail-patella syndrome
- Berger disease
- Henoch-Schönlein purpura
- hemolytic uremic syndrome
- Wegener granulomatosis
- Goodpasture syndrome
You must go through several medical tests before eligibility is determined. You will meet with a team of physicians, surgeons and specialists. The evaluation time takes approximately one to two months. You will need to go through a referral process. Read the frequently asked questions about kidney transplant referrals.
Sometimes, a patient may need a kidney/pancreas transplant. While a patient who requires a pancreas transplant will most likely need a kidney transplant, a patient who needs a kidney transplant may not necessarily require a pancreas transplant.
Yes. The Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center offers several different options for kidney transplant, including living donation. Your physician and surgeons will work with you to determine your best option.
Traditional kidney transplants occur when a patient receives a kidney from a deceased donor. This organ is referred to as a cadaveric kidney.
Living Donor Transplant
When a patient has a family member or friend who is willing to donate a kidney, this is called a living donor transplant.
Incompatible Kidney Transplant
More than one-third of willing donors are turned down because their blood types are not compatible with the person to whom they wish to donate their kidney. The Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center developed methods to make a donated kidney more compatible. Our Incompatible Kidney Transplant Program (InKTP), founded in 1998, is a world leader in this kind of transplant, and has shown dramatic outcomes.
Kidney Swap / Exchange
At Johns Hopkins, we also participate in kidney swaps and exchanges, where donor/recipient pairs will trade organs. For example, if Donor A was unable to donate to Recipient A, he could donate to Recipient B. Recipient B’s donor would then donate to Patient A. This is a very effective way of managing incompatible donors and recipients.
Non-Directed (Altruistic) Donor
The Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Transplant Center encourages people to consider becoming a non-directed kidney donor. These donors do not know the recipient, and are donating to improve the health of an unknown individual. Non-directed donations can set off a domino of kidney donations, which can have an effect on many people. One of the largest kidney exchanges that was started by a non-directed donor resulted in 14 transplantations.
The waiting time for a kidney transplant depends on a number of factors, including organ availability, organ matching and the sickness of the patient. Recent changes in the rules may shorten wait times for certain patients. Changes include:
- Matching kidneys expected to last the longest with patients expected to use them the longest. This may decrease the number of re-transplantations.
- Offering kidneys expected to last only a short time to the entire national list. This may help patients who are not doing well on dialysis and need a transplant right away. It will also reduce the number of discarded kidneys.
- Starting the wait time when a patient is added to the list — OR when they begin dialysis — whichever comes first
Wait times at The Johns Hopkins Hospital are shorter than at other facilities — often by a year or more. We have implemented a more efficient process for patients to be rapidly evaluated and listed for transplantation, and we provide active management for patients on the waiting list.
Having a living donor can significantly shorten your wait time.
If you are waiting for a cadaveric kidney, you can be called into the hospital for surgery at any time. If you have a living donor, you can have a scheduled surgery. Prior to surgery, you will be asked to review and sign an informed consent form. Kidney transplant surgery typically takes four hours. After surgery, you’ll be placed in the intensive care unit; eventually you’ll be moved to the transplant unit. The average post-kidney-transplant hospital stay is seven to 14 days. Living donors only have a two-day hospital stay.
Contact us for more information on kidney and pancreas transplants.
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