Pediatric Kidney Transplantation
A kidney (renal) transplant can transform the lives of children with end stage kidney disease, freeing them from dialysis and enabling them to enjoy full, active lives. NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital have dedicated kidney transplantation programs for children and adolescents, featuring teams of experts offering comprehensive care. Thanks to medical and surgical advances we've developed, more people than ever have access to a kidney transplant — the most common and successful of all transplant procedures in the United States.
Improving outcomes for all
Our transplant physicians and surgeons are responsible for many significant advances made over the past several decades in kidney transplant surgery and the maintenance of healthy organs. NewYork-Presbyterian has been at the forefront of:
- Developing and improving minimally invasive surgery for living donors
- Genetic methods to detect transplant rejection early
- Strategies to increase opportunities for donor matching
- Anti-rejection approaches with fewer side effects
Better access to donated kidneys
Living donor transplantation is the gold standard of kidney transplant procedures. Typically, the organ is donated by a relative. For many children, a parent is eligible to be a donor. Our transplant teams have found new ways of expanding the donor pool, increasing the number of kidneys available for transplants, addressing the shortage of healthy organs, and reducing waiting times for organs.
For example, "paired donor kidney exchanges" anonymously match compatible donors with recipients when a suitable donor cannot be found among family members or friends. With this technique, a donor who is not a match for their child donates to another individual, and their child receives a kidney from another matched donor, whose child receives a kidney from another donor, and so on. This approach has dramatically increased the number of kidneys available for transplantation.
Our Approach to Care
Using a team approach, we provide seamless care to your child and family before, during, and after kidney transplant surgery. Your child's healthcare team includes professionals from a wide variety of disciplines. In addition to pediatric nephrologists, urologists, and transplant surgeons, the team includes specialists from nutrition, psychiatry, critical care, social work and other fields who collaborate to ensure that your child is as ready as possible for transplantation and receives comprehensive, compassionate care during and after the procedure. We also have dedicated pediatric transplant coordinators to help manage your transplant evaluation process.
What to expect from our kidney transplant programs
When you bring your child to NewYork-Presbyterian for kidney transplantation, you'll benefit from a customized team assembled to provide your child with exceptional care. Our programs feature:
Steroid-free regimens after transplant. Our teams have extensive expertise in immunosuppressant therapies and other medications that patients need to take after transplantation, caring for them throughout their lives. The team is generally able to avoid using steroids in children. Without steroids, patients recover quickly and avoid many serious long-term side effects, including growth delays.
Experienced reconstructive surgeons. Our pediatric urologists perform reconstructive surgical procedures to boost the chance of a successful outcome after transplantation by correcting bladder abnormalities in a child before the transplant. This may be a part of care for children with posterior urethral valves (extra flaps of tissue in a boy's urethra), abnormalities of the anus and rectum, cloacal disorders, and neurogenic bladder (lack of bladder control due to a brain, spinal cord, or nerve condition).
Education and guidance. You and your child receive comprehensive education to help you understand your options before transplantation and what you need to do to help your child thrive after transplantation and into adulthood.
Your first visit
Your family's first step in the journey toward kidney transplantation is a full evaluation by our transplant team. You will learn about:
- The types of kidney transplants we perform and what the transplant process entails.
- What you need to know if you are interested in donating a kidney to your child.
- What you'll need to do if your child is placed on the waiting list for a kidney from a deceased donor. You'll need to be reachable 24/7 and able to bring your child to the hospital quickly if a donor kidney becomes available.
- What your child's life will be like after transplantation. Your child will need to take medications and receive lifelong medical follow-up care, including periodic clinic visits, to stay healthy.
Your child will undergo a series of tests to evaluate his or her health in preparation for the transplant process. The team will also let you know what you can do to help your child stay as healthy as possible before the transplant takes place.
Kidney disease can sometimes lead to kidney failure. If your child's kidneys are no longer able to function properly, we use a technique called dialysis to do the work of the kidneys. For pediatric patients, we often use this treatment as a bridge to kidney transplant. The quality of life after a transplant is always better than it is while on dialysis.
- With peritoneal dialysis, we place a catheter into your child's abdomen, making access to body fluids easier. This approach is often used in newborns and very young children since it can be done at home at night while the child and family sleep.
- With hemodialysis, we access the bloodstream through a vein. It is reserved for older children and is given at the hospital or in a dialysis center.
Why Choose Us
NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center established the first kidney transplant program and performed the first pediatric kidney transplant in the New York metropolitan area more than 50 years ago. One of the first paired donor kidney exchanges in the nation was performed at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell in 2008, increasing the number of kidneys available for transplantation.
Today NewYork-Presbyterian has one of the highest volumes of kidney transplants in the country. Our rates of kidney rejection are lower, and our rates of graft survival (a healthy transplanted kidney) are higher than the national average. Contact us for an appointment.