Why choose Ohio State for kidney transplant?

Expertise: We perform nearly 300 kidney transplants a year, including adult living donor transplants, making us one of the top 20 transplant programs by volume in the United States. A kidney transplant from a living donor is the best option for a patient with end-stage kidney disease. Our program is focused on expanding access to living kidney donation by overcoming blood type incompatibility through our kidney donor exchange program. In early 2020, we completed an 8-way kidney donor exchange consisting of 8 living donors and 8 recipients. This bested our previous chain, a 6-way, performed in 2011. Our 8-way is the largest, single-institution living kidney donor exchange to date in Ohio, and one of only a handful in the country. 

Experience: Our Comprehensive Transplant Center has one of the largest organ transplant programs in the nation and is a preferred provider for all major insurance companies. Each year we perform nearly 600 kidney, liver, pancreas, combined kidney-pancreas, heart and lung transplants. Since our program started in 1967, we have performed 12,500 lifesaving organ transplants including 8,350 kidney transplants.

Kidney transplant research: We participate in clinical trials of new immunosuppressive drugs and antirejection therapies including novel cell therapy to prevent kidney transplant failure.

Kidney Transplant Candidates

Kidney Transplant Candidates

Solid organ kidney transplant involves surgically implanting a new kidney that has been donated by a deceased or a living donor. Typically, your kidneys are left in place. Kidney transplantation may be a treatment option for patients whose kidneys have permanently failed due to chronic end-stage renal disease caused by:
  • Autoimmune disease: Your body's immune system protects you from disease and infection. But if you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Autoimmune diseases can affect many parts of the body.
  • Congenital abnormalities: A birth defect is a problem that happens while a baby is developing in the mother's body. Most birth defects happen during the first three months of pregnancy. One out of every 33 babies in the United States is born with a birth defect.

    A birth defect may affect how the body looks, works or both. Some birth defects like cleft lip or neural tube defects are structural problems that can be easy to see. To find others, like heart defects, doctors use special tests. Birth defects can vary from mild to severe. 
Your overall health, not your age, is the most important factor in determining if you are a suitable organ recipient. Screenings before transplant ensure that you are in good medical and psychological health and that you have the motivation and support to comply with treatment plans. People who generally are not candidates include those with metastatic cancer, active drug or alcohol abuse, active infection or severe medical problems.

Patient Process

Kidney Transplant Process

A goal of our Comprehensive Transplant Center is to ensure our transplant patients experience a thorough continuity of services through the entire transplant process, including pre-transplant evaluation, communication throughout the waiting process, acute medical care during and following surgery, intensive outpatient treatment, post-transplant outpatient visits and ongoing telephone follow-up.

Treatment Team

Kidney Transplant Team

Our Comprehensive Transplant Center treatment team includes:

Frequently Asked Questions

Kidney Transplant Frequently Asked Questions

Why kidney transplant from a living donor is the best option?

There are currently three options for treatment of end-stage kidney disease: 1. dialysis, 2. kidney transplant from a deceased donor, or 3. kidney transplant from a living donor.

With dialysis, a machine is used to artificially clean the blood, doing the work of a healthy kidney. It’s time-consuming and exhausting, as frequent as three times a week for up to four hours each session. While a patient can remain on dialysis for many years, it’s not a cure for kidney disease. In fact, ten percent of patients on dialysis die each year while waiting for a kidney transplant. For some groups, such as elderly patients and patients with diabetes, there is an even greater risk of dying.

A kidney transplant is the preferred treatment option for patients with end-stage kidney disease. But the demand for kidneys from deceased donors is greater than the number available – which means patients can wait years for a kidney transplant, often growing weaker while waiting.

The best and fastest option for kidney transplant is to receive a kidney from a living donor.

Patient Success Stories

Kidney donation from one brother to another, half a country apart

46 year old Mike Robison, living in Arizona, decided to donate his kidney to his brother, Steve living in Columbus, Ohio. 

Mother and son donate kidneys to ailing husband and father, 21 years apart

Transplant surgeon Amer Rajab, MD, PhD, performed both procedures across the decades for ‘blessed’ patient.

Read their amazing story here.

Kidney Recipient 30+ Years After Transplantation

After more than 30 years of living with a kidney transplant, Rick has come away with a very important life lesson: don’t take anything for granted.

Nicaraguan Travels to OSU for Kidney Transplant

With the assistance of OSU's Destination Medicine and Concierge Program, Tito (age 47) was able to travel from Nicaragua to Ohio State's Comprehensive Transplant Center for a living kidney donor transplant from his brother.

Kidney Transplant Recipient Has Baby After 10 Year Wait

After a decade battle with kidney disease, Bethany is finally able to start her family, thanks to a living kidney donation transplanted at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.

One of the longest living patients with a transplanted organ at the Ohio State Comprehensive Transplant Center shares his story

59 year old Steve Mellum has been living with a transplanted kidney for nearly 36 years. This college professor has the distinction of being one of the longest living patients with a single transplanted organ, a kidney transplanted in 1983 at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Steve was 23 years old when his kidneys failed. His younger sister Mary proved to be a near perfect match as a living kidney donor.

Our Latest Kidney Transplant News

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