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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​With one of the largest kidney transplant programs in Texas and more than a 30 year history of providing transplant services, Baylor Scott & White Health offers expert care for patients with en​d stage renal disease.  The Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute​ is comprised of care at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas and Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth; and in Central Texas care is provided by Scott & White Me​dical Center – Temple​.​

We recognize that kidney disease impacts your health and quality of life, therefore, our goal is for you to understand your treatment options.   If you have a diagnosis of end-stage renal disease and don’t have any conditions that would exclude you from getting a transplant, you may be considered as a candidate for a kidney transplant.  Your physician will refer you to a kidney transplant center, such as Baylor Scott & White Health, for a complete evaluation that includes a series of physical examinations, diagnostic tests and educational meetings. 

Patient Selection Process

It is not necessary to be on dialysis prior to transplant.  Pre-dialysis candidates should have a GFR of 20 to be placed on the transplant waiting list. If you are eligible for a kidney transplant and your insurer has cleared the procedure, you’ll be placed on our kidney transplant list and registered with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the national organ-donor system. 

Transplant Options

There are three potential options to consider when a kidney transplant is needed:

  • A living kidney donation – A kidney can be donated by a family member, friend or someone with an emotional tie to the recipient. The donor does not have to be a blood relative to donate or the same race or gender if the necessary blood and tissue typing are compatible.
  • Paired Kidney Donor Program​​ – You and your willing donor may be eligible for the Paired Kidney Donor Program if the donor is not compatible with you. This allows them to donate their kidney to another recipient who was not compatible to their donor, but is compatible with you. Their donor would then donate to you. Baylor University Medical Center performed North Texas’ first paired kidney donor transplant. If you are interested in this option, please discuss it with your transplant coordinator or visit the Alliance for Paired Donation.
  • A deceased kidney donation – Patients in need of a kidney transplant can be placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list for a kidney donated by a deceased person who has indicated their willingness to donate. Currently, there are more than 96,000 people in the UNOS list waiting for a kidney. Deceased kidney donations are allocated based on several factors, including compatibility between the patient and donor and length of time on the waiting list.

Transplant Surgery

Before a kidney from any donor can be used, it is tested to determine whether it matches your tissue type and blood type.  This test helps reduce the likelihood that your body will reject the new kidney.

During transplant surgery, a surgeon will place the healthy donor kidney into your body.  The new kidney will do the work that your failing kidneys can no longer perform.  Generally, your damaged kidneys will not be removed unless they are causing problems that cannot be treated with medication.

After placing the donor kidney in your body, the surgeon will connect blood vessels from the donor kidney to arteries and veins in your body.  After the ureter – the tube that carries urine to the bladder – from the donor kidney is connected to your ureter, surgeons can allow blood to flow through the new kidney, and it can begin to function.  Kidney transplant surgery may take two to four hours.

Kidney/Pancreas Transplant

Simultaneous kidney-pancreas transplants are performed for patients with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who qualify. The dual transplant functions better than a kidney alone because the new pancreas protects the transplanted kidney from the harmful effects of diabetes. As a result, the new kidney performs better and longer in the kidney/pancreas transplant recipient. Many kidney/pancreas transplant recipients are free of diabetes years after their transplant and report a higher quality of life than kidney-alone patients. 

Risks Associated with a Kidney Transplant

Kidney transplant, like any surgery, comes with risks as well as benefits.  Some of the risks include your body’s rejection of kidney transplant or side effects from the medications.  Your physician will discuss the risks and benefits with you.

Life After Receiving a Kidney Transplant

Most patients feel better and enjoy an improved quality of life.  You’ll still need medical supervision after your transplant, but you won’t be dependent on dialysis any more.  You may also have fewer dietary and fluid restrictions.

Organ Donation

Organ donation is a life-saving gift, but unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there that keeps people from registering, re​sulting in a shortage of organs.  An average of 18 people die each day waiting for transplants and there are more than 120,000 people on organ transplant waiting lists in the United States.  Get the facts about organ donation​ and learn how you can make a difference.

How Long Is the Waiting List for a Kidney Transplant?

The waiting time for a kidney transplant can be highly variable. If you have a live kidney transplant, your surgery will be scheduled. If you are waiting for a deceased donor or a paired kidney donor, your wait may be difficult to predict and can range from days to years.

When You Need a Kidney Transplant

Living Donor Kidney Transplants

In a living donor kidney transplant, someone makes a decision to donate one of their kidneys. Donors can be a family member, friend or anyone who has an emotional tie to the recipient. You don’t have to be a blood relative or the same race or gender to donate as long as the necessary blood and tissue typing are compatible. A living donor kidney transplant can also come from the Paired Kidney Donor Program if your donor is not compatible. Under this program, your donor would donate their kidney to another recipient who was not compatible with their own donor, but who is compatible with you. That recipient would get your donor’s kidney and you would get their donor’s kidney.

Benefits of Living Kidney Donation

Frequently Asked Questions About Kidney Transplants

How long Is the waiting list for a kidney transplant?

The waiting time for a kidney transplant can be highly variable. If you have a live kidney transplant, your surgery will be scheduled. If you are waiting for a deceased donor or a paired kidney donor, your wait may be difficult to predict and can range from days to years.

Does Baylor Scott & White Health perform combined kidney and pancreas transplants?

We do. In fact, as the third largest program in the state, we have a significantly shorter waiting time than other transplant centers. Patients on our list for a simultaneous kidney/pancreas transplant wait on average no longer than three months, compared to seven to 62 months at other centers.

Does insurance cover the cost of a kidney transplant?

We have a financial coordinator who will help you and your family with financial related questions or concerns regarding your transplant coverage.

Is a transplant right for chronic kidney disease treatment?

If you have chronic kidney disease, you have two treatment options: dialysis or transplant. Your nephrologist (kidney doctor) will discuss the risks and benefits of each option to determine if a transplant is the best option.

What are the options for patients with end-stage renal disease?

People with end-stage renal (kidney) disease (ESRD) have two treatment options: dialysis or transplantation. The decision to have a transplant is one that you will make along with the advice of your nephrologist (kidney doctor).

Why can’t I stay dialysis for the rest of my life?

While dialysis is a lifesaving treatment, it involves dependence on a hemodialysis machine or on peritoneal dialysis exchanges (machines that clean your blood and replace the function of your kidneys). For many people, the quality of life on these two types of dialysis is unsatisfactory. Transplantation is another lifesaving option that can provide improved life and freedom from dialysis.

What are the advantages of kidney transplant?

A successful kidney transplant allows most patients to feel better and have an improved quality of life. Although medical supervision will continue after transplant, you will no longer be dependent upon dialysis. There may also be fewer dietary and fluid restrictions.

What are the risks of a kidney transplant?

Transplantation has risks as well as benefits. Your body may reject the transplant. You may experience side effects from the medications. There are surgical risks with all surgical procedures. Your physician will discuss the risks and benefits with you.

What happens during kidney transplantation?

Kidney transplantation is a procedure in which a new kidney from another person is placed into your body, taking over the work of your two failed kidneys. The new kidney can do all the work that your failing two kidneys could not. Candidates for kidney transplantation can be put on a waiting list for a healthy kidney, but some may receive a kidney from a living donor who is usually a family member or close friend of the recipient.

How can a patient prevent organ rejection?

A number of very effective medications are available to prevent organ rejection. These medications suppress the immune system, which inhibits rejection of foreign tissue. After a kidney transplant, recipients must take medications daily for the rest of their lives.

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