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Kidney transplant was introduced as a therapy for renal (kidney) failure more than 60 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.

  • Evaluation
  • Preparing for transplant
  • Transplant surgery
  • After transplant care

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 once the Kidney Transplant Team has determined that kidney transplantation is an option,  the ultimate decision rests with the patient. Together with the Penn Kidney Transplant Team and their community nephrologists, patients will evaluate their quality of life, consider the improvement to long-term survival, and determine whether or not a kidney transplant is the right choice for them.

Kidney Waiting List

Those patients who decide to pursue a kidney transplant are placed on the transplant 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). The average waiting time in the Greater Philadelphia region is two to six years.

When a donor kidney becomes available, 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 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. The waiting time in the Greater Philadelphia region is two to six years. UNOS policies allow for a patient to be listed at different transplant centers at the same time, which is called "multiple listing."

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

  • The largest and most experienced kidney transplant program in the region
  • Excellent outcomes
  • One-day evaluation at the state-of-the-art Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine
  • Accommodations at The Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House, a guest house for transplant patients and families
  • Convenient location in Philadelphia's University City District, easily accessible by public transportation from New York City
  • Evaluation clinic at Penn Medicine Bucks County in Yardley, PA, reducing driving time by one hour

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

  • Kidney Evaluation

    Understand the kidney evaluation process at the Penn Transplant Institute.

  • Kidney Waiting List

    Once you are found to be a candidate for a kidney transplant, your information will be placed in the national organ donor database.

  • Kidney Transplant Surgery

    When a kidney becomes available, the Penn Transplant team will notify you and prepare you for surgery.

  • Post-Kidney Transplant Surgery

    It's important to know what to expect after kidney transplant surgery. The Penn Transplant team provides everything you need to know for a successful recovery.

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