In an ideal world, all patients with end-stage kidney disease would be able to receive a kidney transplant from a deceased donor. However, there are currently only enough organs from deceased donors available for approximately 13 percent of the more than 83,000 people on the national kidney transplant waiting list. Unfortunately, approximately 28 percent on that waiting list die each year without being transplanted. The scarcity of donors has imposed the need for medical professionals to explore what would otherwise be considered extreme solutions to terminal cases of kidney failure: living donor renal transplant (LDRT). Although LDRT will not replace traditional cadaveric transplantation, it may offer the possibility of kidney transplantation to an additional 10 to 15 percent of patients on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list. The immediate benefits of LDRT are twofold. First, because LDRT is an elective procedure performed when the recipient is in the "best" condition, he or she avoids the continued physical deterioration that inevitably occurs while waiting for a suitable kidney replacement. Secondly, by avoiding the use of a cadaveric kidney, LDRT helps to shorten the UNOS waiting list and allow another patient on that list to benefit from transplantation.
The first LDRT was performed in 1954 between identical twin brothers at what is now the Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. Over the next 20 years, the procedure was performed at major medical centers throughout the country. Lahey Clinic's first live donor kidney transplant took place in 1970 and has been performed continuously since. Our transplant surgeons are experts in state-of-the-art laparoscopic live donor nephrectomies. In addition, Lahey Clinic's Department of Transplantation pioneered combined live donor liver, live donor kidney transplantation. As a result, our surgeons have the most extensive experience in the country performing this innovative procedure. Learn how to qualify as a live kidney donor.
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Awards Lahey Clinic the Silver1 Medal of Honor for Organ Donation.