Duke’s kidney transplant program ranks among the best in North Carolina. Our transplant surgeons and specialists are nationally recognized leaders whose skill and expertise help adults and children with chronic kidney disease lead healthier lives.
North Carolina’s leading kidney transplant center
If you have end-stage kidney disease, our short referral-to-evaluation time means we often see you faster than most other centers. While you are on the transplant wait list, our team will work closely with specialists in Duke’s nationally ranked nephrology department to manage your care using the latest therapies available. We strive to perform your kidney transplant before you need dialysis so we can improve your outcome.
Kidney transplant at Duke: a closer look at our program
- A strong living donor program. We offer recipients shorter waiting times and better outcomes compared to organs from deceased donors. In cases where a willing living donor is incompatible with an intended recipient -- due to factors such as blood type or body size -- we may be able to initiate a paired kidney exchange.
- Comprehensive care before and after transplant. We educate you and your family about your emotional and physical needs before and after transplant. Our care guides outline what you can expect throughout the process, including how to prepare for a transplant and how to care for your body after a transplant.
- Care for failing organs. If you’re waiting for a transplant -- or if transplant isn’t an option -- we provide complete medical management and an array of treatment options, including nocturnal dialysis and in-home peritoneal dialysis. We work closely with Duke’s dialysis clinics to manage care for patients with kidney disease, failing kidneys, type-1 diabetes and pancreas failure.
- Multi-organ transplants for complex conditions. We perform kidney-pancreas transplants in patients with chronic conditions related to kidney disease, including obesity, HIV, heart disease and type-1 diabetes. We are also experienced in kidney-heart, kidney-lung and kidney-liver transplants. In rare cases, we offer pancreas-only transplants.
- Active clinical trials program. You may have the opportunity to be among the first in the nation to test new therapies through our clinical trials.
- Pediatric kidney transplant. Our Kidney Transplant Center is one of the nation’s most experienced pediatric kidney transplant programs, and specializes in congenital kidney disease. We care for children with life-threatening kidney disease.
Sharing life: Duke’s living kidney donor program
You may be able to receive a kidney from a loved one or friend whose organ is a compatible match. Or we may be able to match you with a person who wants to give one of their healthy kidneys to a patient in need. More than 30 percent of our kidney transplant patients receive their kidneys from living donors, who are carefully screened through extensive blood work and a complete medical evaluation. Kidney transplants from living donors tend to function longer and have fewer complication rates than organs from deceased donors. This approach shortens the wait time for transplant, and makes it more likely for us to perform your kidney transplant before you need dialysis.
If you are interested in becoming a living kidney donor, please contact us:
Phone: 800-249-5864 or 919-613-7777
When a living donor’s kidney doesn’t match
The Duke Kidney Paired Donation Program helps incompatible or poorly matched donor-and-recipient pairs find a more suitable donor-and-recipient pair with whom they can exchange kidneys. This approach increases the pool of available organs and improves your chance to receive an organ that is a closer HLA (human leukocyte antigen) match, is a more appropriate size for you or comes from a younger donor. These are all factors that may reduce the chances of organ rejection.
Before your kidney transplant
Determines whether transplantation is the best therapy for you. The process may take several days, depending on what tests or screenings you’ll need. A transplant coordinator will help you plan your visit. Testing may include:
- Blood and tissue tests. Check blood type and compatibility, assess kidney, liver and immune system function, and screen for viruses or infections that may affect your outcome.
- Immunogenetic Testing. Helps to locate a donor kidney that is a suitable match for your immune system.
- Cardiac Screening. Determines whether your heart can tolerate the stress of the transplant surgery.
- CT Scan of Abdomen and Pelvis. Screens for vascular calcifications, particularly in older and diabetic recipients.
If you have kidney disease and are considered a candidate for kidney transplantation, you will be listed in the national database maintained and administered by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). You will need to arrive at Duke promptly once you are notified that an organ is available. If you need to relocate to the Durham area, a transplant coordinator can assist you.
All kidney transplant candidates will participate in transplant education classes, led by our transplant coordinators. They teach you and your caregivers about the transplant process, the medications you will need to take and the recovery process.
We involve your designated caregivers (family members or friends) from the time of your first evaluation through recovery. They attend each of your appointments, and we educate them about their important role in taking care of you after surgery. They are our partners in restoring your health as quickly as possible.
After your kidney transplant
Although organ rejection may follow transplants, our innovative strategies to prevent organ rejection and injury are a documented success. We provide you and your caregivers with the resources and support you need to live a healthy life after transplantation. Our transplant coordinators are always available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
We offer support groups for all of our transplant patients. These sessions, led by social workers, give transplant patients and their loved ones a chance to meet with others for emotional support, to ask questions and share information about issues such as medications, nutrition and exercise.