Kidney Transplant

Freedom from dialysis and improved quality of life

If you have end-stage kidney disease, a kidney transplant is one of three treatment options available to you. It is a surgery that offers freedom from hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. It also improves the length and quality of life.

IU Health Transplant performs both living and deceased donor transplants. We offer the most experienced team in Indiana dedicated to helping you throughout the transplant journey. We offer kidney transplants for those who require desensitization therapies, are HIV positive, are Hepatitis C positive, or have been considered ineligible at other transplant centers. We also offer transplantation of ABO A2 kidneys into O recipients and Hepatitis C positive into negative recipients. As an active member of the National Kidney Registry’s Remote Donation Network and Advanced Donation Program, we also offer expanded paired donation options for patients with non-compatible living donors.

The IU Health Living Kidney Donation team helps individuals considering living donation. We give you education to make an informed decision and support throughout the entire donation process.

Overview

If you have end-stage kidney disease, a kidney transplant is one of three treatment options available to you. It is a surgery that offers freedom from hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. It also improves the length and quality of life.

IU Health Transplant performs both living and deceased donor transplants. We offer the most experienced team in Indiana dedicated to helping you throughout the transplant journey. We offer kidney transplants for those who require desensitization therapies, are HIV positive, are Hepatitis C positive, or have been considered ineligible at other transplant centers. We also offer transplantation of ABO A2 kidneys into O recipients and Hepatitis C positive into negative recipients. As an active member of the National Kidney Registry’s Remote Donation Network and Advanced Donation Program, we also offer expanded paired donation options for patients with non-compatible living donors.

The IU Health Living Kidney Donation team helps individuals considering living donation. We give you education to make an informed decision and support throughout the entire donation process.

Our Expertise

The IU Health Transplant team is committed to helping patients with end-stage renal disease through every stage of the transplant experience. We have more than 50 years of performing kidney transplants. We offer the most experience and the best three year outcomes of any program in the state.

Our unparalleled experience comes from performing over 200 kidney transplants each year. That total exceeds 7,000 kidney transplants since the program began. These totals include more than 2,000 kidney transplants performed by our surgical director who is one of the most experienced kidney transplant surgeons in the country.

These numbers are important because each transplant represents a patient who we have been able to help. This level of experience also allows us to offer kidney transplants to more complex and high-risk recipients. That includes those who:

  • are HIV positive
  • are Hepatitis C positive
  • require desensitization therapies
  • have been considered ineligible at other transplant centers

Outreach Clinics

IU Health offers kidney transplant outreach clinics in Fort Wayne, Merrillville, Mishawaka, Lafayette and Evansville. These locations offer convenient pre-transplant and post-transplant care for patients.

Thanks to these clinics, many patients are able to limit their trips to IU Health University Hospital in Indianapolis for specialized transplant care.

Living Kidney Donation

A kidney from a living donor is the best option for patients because it will reduce or eliminate the need to start dialysis or spend years waiting for a deceased donor transplant. In addition, a kidney from a living donor will function better and last longer since the donor must be healthy and will be placed into the recipient within a very short time frame.

Because of all these factors, patients receiving a kidney from a living donor have a better one year patient and kidney survival than patients receiving a kidney from a deceased donor – and this advantage continues long term.

While a potential donor frequently has a connection to the recipient – such as family or friend – a donor may not know the recipient at all. Non-directed donors come forward every year to donate because they feel called to help after learning about someone in need of a kidney transplant.

Learn more about living kidney donation and the dedicated team that supports living donors throughout their journey.

To donate a kidney, the process begins by submitting a confidential online donor evaluation form. All communication between the transplant center and a potential donor is confidential.

Paired Donation Program

We participate in multiple kidney paired donation programs designed to increase the number of kidney transplants done in Indiana, and by so doing, improve patient survival. Paired donation is an option for patients who need a kidney transplant and have a willing living donor who is incompatible (a poor match). Most recipient and donor pairs are entered into a paired donation program because of blood type or antibody incompatibility or both. Other pairs may enter if they are seeking a donor better matched in age, size or some medically suggested reason.

As the first program in Indiana to have utilized paired donation, we continue to look for ways to increase and improve living kidney donor transplantation.

National Kidney Registry

IU Health Transplant and the National Kidney Registry (NKR) have joined forces in offering advanced donation and remote donation.

The NKR Standard Voucher Program allows living donors to donate a kidney to another recipient within the NKR network of member centers at a time that works best for the donor. This option is also referred to advance donation as it can be done prior to the time when the designated kidney recipient may actually need the kidney.

When the selected recipient of that living donor needs a kidney transplant, the recipient receives priority through the NKR to receive a kidney donated by another living donor. This program removes many of the time constraints previously imposed upon the living donor. The donor can donate on their schedule and their recipient then receives a living donor kidney when they need it. This period between donation and the recipient’s kidney transplant surgery may be from weeks to potentially years.

Remote Donation Program occurs when a donor donates at a designated NKR remote center, directly to the intended recipient at another NKR center. The donor’s kidney is shipped to the intended recipient’s transplant center. The NKR facilitates the donation between centers.

What to Expect

Our Expertise

The IU Health Transplant team is committed to helping patients with end-stage renal disease through every stage of the transplant experience. We have more than 50 years of performing kidney transplants. We offer the most experience and the best three year outcomes of any program in the state.

Our unparalleled experience comes from performing over 200 kidney transplants each year. That total exceeds 7,000 kidney transplants since the program began. These totals include more than 2,000 kidney transplants performed by our surgical director who is one of the most experienced kidney transplant surgeons in the country.

These numbers are important because each transplant represents a patient who we have been able to help. This level of experience also allows us to offer kidney transplants to more complex and high-risk recipients. That includes those who:

  • are HIV positive
  • are Hepatitis C positive
  • require desensitization therapies
  • have been considered ineligible at other transplant centers

Outreach Clinics

IU Health offers kidney transplant outreach clinics in Fort Wayne, Merrillville, Mishawaka, Lafayette and Evansville. These locations offer convenient pre-transplant and post-transplant care for patients.

Thanks to these clinics, many patients are able to limit their trips to IU Health University Hospital in Indianapolis for specialized transplant care.

Living Kidney Donation

A kidney from a living donor is the best option for patients because it will reduce or eliminate the need to start dialysis or spend years waiting for a deceased donor transplant. In addition, a kidney from a living donor will function better and last longer since the donor must be healthy and will be placed into the recipient within a very short time frame.

Because of all these factors, patients receiving a kidney from a living donor have a better one year patient and kidney survival than patients receiving a kidney from a deceased donor – and this advantage continues long term.

While a potential donor frequently has a connection to the recipient – such as family or friend – a donor may not know the recipient at all. Non-directed donors come forward every year to donate because they feel called to help after learning about someone in need of a kidney transplant.

Learn more about living kidney donation and the dedicated team that supports living donors throughout their journey.

To donate a kidney, the process begins by submitting a confidential online donor evaluation form. All communication between the transplant center and a potential donor is confidential.

Paired Donation Program

We participate in multiple kidney paired donation programs designed to increase the number of kidney transplants done in Indiana, and by so doing, improve patient survival. Paired donation is an option for patients who need a kidney transplant and have a willing living donor who is incompatible (a poor match). Most recipient and donor pairs are entered into a paired donation program because of blood type or antibody incompatibility or both. Other pairs may enter if they are seeking a donor better matched in age, size or some medically suggested reason.

As the first program in Indiana to have utilized paired donation, we continue to look for ways to increase and improve living kidney donor transplantation.

National Kidney Registry

IU Health Transplant and the National Kidney Registry (NKR) have joined forces in offering advanced donation and remote donation.

The NKR Standard Voucher Program allows living donors to donate a kidney to another recipient within the NKR network of member centers at a time that works best for the donor. This option is also referred to advance donation as it can be done prior to the time when the designated kidney recipient may actually need the kidney.

When the selected recipient of that living donor needs a kidney transplant, the recipient receives priority through the NKR to receive a kidney donated by another living donor. This program removes many of the time constraints previously imposed upon the living donor. The donor can donate on their schedule and their recipient then receives a living donor kidney when they need it. This period between donation and the recipient’s kidney transplant surgery may be from weeks to potentially years.

Remote Donation Program occurs when a donor donates at a designated NKR remote center, directly to the intended recipient at another NKR center. The donor’s kidney is shipped to the intended recipient’s transplant center. The NKR facilitates the donation between centers.

When you are referred to the IU Health Kidney Transplant Program by your physician, dialysis center or as a self-referral, you will receive an initial packet of information in the mail about our program and invitation to call us to notify us if you are interested in proceeding with a kidney transplant evaluation. Some basic demographic information and medical records are required to determine if you are a candidate for transplant.

To get started, we offer a secure online process where you can complete and submit your medical history and medical records with our team.

Once we have insurance approval to start your evaluation, we will send you additional information with required forms to be returned to begin the testing to determine if you are healthy enough for surgery. You will also need to attend an education day with a support person. One of our 12 pre-transplant kidney coordinators will guide you through the entire process and be available to answer any questions you may have along the way.

Once your testing is complete, the multidisciplinary team will carefully review all of the results to determine if you are able to be listed on the national United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) kidney waiting list. Your coordinator will notify you of the decision and discuss next steps.

To receive a kidney transplant, you must first be listed on the UNOS kidney waiting list. The list is kept nationally by UNOS. Once listed, your place on the list is different for each potential deceased donor kidney.

It is determined by your match to the donor kidney being offered and how long you have been on dialysis or your wait time on the deceased donor list. The list is consistent within the Donor Service Area (DSA) for the transplant center where you are listed which, if listed at IU Health, is essentially all of Indiana.

Multi-listing within the same DSA (Indiana) does not improve your chance for transplantation or change your place on the list. However, patients often wish to be listed at transplant centers in surrounding DSA's such as Ohio and Illinois.

If you would like to pursue multi-listing, our team works closely with other transplant programs to help our patients get listed in other DSA's if they choose to help increase chances for a match and potentially decrease waiting time for a kidney transplant. Our goal is to help you receive a kidney transplant and return to living your life to the fullest.

Preparing For Your Transplant

When you are referred to the IU Health Kidney Transplant Program by your physician, dialysis center or as a self-referral, you will receive an initial packet of information in the mail about our program and invitation to call us to notify us if you are interested in proceeding with a kidney transplant evaluation. Some basic demographic information and medical records are required to determine if you are a candidate for transplant.

To get started, we offer a secure online process where you can complete and submit your medical history and medical records with our team.

Once we have insurance approval to start your evaluation, we will send you additional information with required forms to be returned to begin the testing to determine if you are healthy enough for surgery. You will also need to attend an education day with a support person. One of our 12 pre-transplant kidney coordinators will guide you through the entire process and be available to answer any questions you may have along the way.

Once your testing is complete, the multidisciplinary team will carefully review all of the results to determine if you are able to be listed on the national United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) kidney waiting list. Your coordinator will notify you of the decision and discuss next steps.

To receive a kidney transplant, you must first be listed on the UNOS kidney waiting list. The list is kept nationally by UNOS. Once listed, your place on the list is different for each potential deceased donor kidney.

It is determined by your match to the donor kidney being offered and how long you have been on dialysis or your wait time on the deceased donor list. The list is consistent within the Donor Service Area (DSA) for the transplant center where you are listed which, if listed at IU Health, is essentially all of Indiana.

Multi-listing within the same DSA (Indiana) does not improve your chance for transplantation or change your place on the list. However, patients often wish to be listed at transplant centers in surrounding DSA's such as Ohio and Illinois.

If you would like to pursue multi-listing, our team works closely with other transplant programs to help our patients get listed in other DSA's if they choose to help increase chances for a match and potentially decrease waiting time for a kidney transplant. Our goal is to help you receive a kidney transplant and return to living your life to the fullest.

Kidney Transplant: What to Expect

After your kidney transplant your care will continue. Even with the best match, your body sees the new kidney as a foreign object, and your immune system will want to do what it does best, reject it. Preventing this is very important.

You will be given medicines known as immunosuppressive or anti-rejection drugs. These drugs will limit your immune system’s ability to damage your new kidney. Like any drugs, these medicines also have side effects, and you may need medicines to help control those side effects and also manage other things such as high blood pressure or infection.

Long-term Support

Your transplant team will continue to be available to you for ongoing management of your kidney transplant so that you can enjoy many active and fulfilling years to come.

After Your Transplant

After your kidney transplant your care will continue. Even with the best match, your body sees the new kidney as a foreign object, and your immune system will want to do what it does best, reject it. Preventing this is very important.

You will be given medicines known as immunosuppressive or anti-rejection drugs. These drugs will limit your immune system’s ability to damage your new kidney. Like any drugs, these medicines also have side effects, and you may need medicines to help control those side effects and also manage other things such as high blood pressure or infection.

Long-term Support

Your transplant team will continue to be available to you for ongoing management of your kidney transplant so that you can enjoy many active and fulfilling years to come.

You’ll probably have a lot of questions about your kidney transplant procedure. Some of the questions you might ask could include:

  • How long will I have to wait for a transplant?
  • How can my family and friends find out if they can donate?
  • How is the procedure done?
  • How long will my recovery be?
  • Will I need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of my life?
  • What risks are there to a living donor?
  • Will I be able to resume an active lifestyle after the transplant? Will there be any activities to avoid?

Be sure to write down these or other questions you may have. We strongly recommend you bring along a partner or a good friend who can help you by listening and also taking notes.

For more information about the kidney transplant program, call 800.382.4602 or email transplantinfo@iuhealth.org.

Questions to Ask Your Provider

You’ll probably have a lot of questions about your kidney transplant procedure. Some of the questions you might ask could include:

  • How long will I have to wait for a transplant?
  • How can my family and friends find out if they can donate?
  • How is the procedure done?
  • How long will my recovery be?
  • Will I need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of my life?
  • What risks are there to a living donor?
  • Will I be able to resume an active lifestyle after the transplant? Will there be any activities to avoid?

Be sure to write down these or other questions you may have. We strongly recommend you bring along a partner or a good friend who can help you by listening and also taking notes.

For more information about the kidney transplant program, call 800.382.4602 or email transplantinfo@iuhealth.org.

Apr 10

Long-time athlete receives kidney from sibling

Stephen “Steve” Gentili had been healthy most of his life until he was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. During “Donate Life Month” he shares his story.

Long-time athlete receives kidney from sibling image.

Patient Stories for Kidney Transplant

Apr 10

Long-time athlete receives kidney from sibling

Stephen “Steve” Gentili had been healthy most of his life until he was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease. During “Donate Life Month” he shares his story.

Long-time athlete receives kidney from sibling image.

Indiana Advance Directives for Healthcare

Advance care planning is a process to help any adult, at any stage of health, understand and share their goals and preferences regarding future medical care. A part of advance care planning may involve completing an advance directive.

Resources

Indiana Advance Directives for Healthcare

Advance care planning is a process to help any adult, at any stage of health, understand and share their goals and preferences regarding future medical care. A part of advance care planning may involve completing an advance directive.