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 end stage renal disease. The Baylor Annette C. and Harold C. Simmons Transplant Institute is comprised of care at
Baylor University Medical Center, part of Baylor Scott & White Health and
Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center – Fort Worth; and in Central Texas care is provided by
Baylor Scott & White Medical 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 Baylor Scott & White Health kidney transplant center 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 kidney function less than or equal to 20 percent 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.
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 on 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 dialysis.
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.
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 the transplanted kidney 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 is a life-saving gift, however, the need for organs is greater than the supply. 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.
The desensitization program, available at Baylor Dallas and Baylor Scott & White Fort Worth, is a unique program only offered at select transplant centers in the United States. This program helps individuals who are prohibited from receiving a transplant due to an identified abundance of antibodies in their bloodstream which will cause organ rejection, receive treatment which will reduce the antibodies over time and make them better candidates for organ transplantation. The transplant program at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple also has the capability to offer desensitization under special circumstances and also encourages participation in the paired exchange program.
To learn more about kidney transplant, see our patient guide:
Pathway to Kidney Transplant.