Penn Transplant Institute

Kidney Transplant Process

Kidney transplant was introduced as a therapy for renal (kidney) failure more than 40 years ago. Since that time, the number of kidney transplants performed at Penn Medicine and across the United States has increased dramatically. Kidney transplantation is now widely recognized as the most effective treatment for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), the final stage of kidney failure.

There are four major stages in the kidney transplant process at Penn Medicine.

Patients who may be helped by a kidney transplant undergo an extensive evaluation by the Penn Kidney Transplant Team. Based on the evaluation results, the transplant team decides whether or not a transplant is appropriate as the best therapeutic option.

The decision to proceed with a kidney transplant represents a strong commitment to self-care and medical follow-up, so the ultimate decision rests with the patients. Only they can evaluate their quality of life and determine whether or not a kidney transplant is worth pursuing.

Kidney Waiting List

Those patients who decide to pursue a kidney transplant are placed on the waiting list. Being "placed on the list" means their names and certain medical information are entered into the national database overseen by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

When a donor kidney is identified, the patient is called in to the hospital. On average, transplant patients remain in the hospital about a week after their surgery.

After leaving the hospital, patients are expected to return to the Penn Transplant Institute for ongoing therapy and medical care and are monitored for any signs of infection, rejection or medication side effects.

Multiple Listing

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), waiting times for a deceased donor kidney vary by region. It is possible to be listed at multiple transplant centers at the same the time.

For New York patients considering multiple listing in Philadelphia, Penn's kidney transplant program offers:

For more information on multiple listing for kidney transplant, please see the UNOS Multiple Listing Brochure.