• Kidney transplant program

    Comprehensive advanced kidney disease treatment

    The University of Kentucky is the oldest Renal Transplant Program west of the Appalachian Mountains. The first live donor kidney transplant was done here in August of 1964, less than 1 year after the first live donor kidney transplant in the world in Boston. We are also proud that the longest transplant survivor, perhaps in the world, was transplanted at UK in December of 1966, and is still off dialysis over 45 years later. Additionally, in 1995, our own Dr. Bruce Lucas was named President of UNOS. In 1992 we did our 1000th kidney transplant and in 2010 we did our 2000th. The program continues to grow and is stronger than ever.

    The state of Kentucky is blessed with some of the shortest waiting times in the country. Most patients are transplanted within 24 months of listing. It may surprise you to find out that we are the busiest program in the region including the programs in Cincinnati and Louisville. In addition, our outcomes are exceptional.

  • About kidney transplantation

    Kidney transplantation is a surgical procedure that places a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor into a patient who has kidney failure. The new kidney takes over the work of the failing kidneys. Most kidney transplant recipients have end-stage kidney disease.

    The leading cause of kidney disease is diabetes. However, there are other causes of kidney disease including high blood pressure, infections such as hepatitis and TB; heart, lung or liver disease; recent history of cancer; or hazardous lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol, or drug abuse. Read more about kidney transplantation »


  • Am I a candidate for kidney transplant?

    Most patients with irreversible kidney failure are potential candidates for kidney transplant. Overall health and well-being are important. For example, you must have stable heart and lung function in order to safely withstand the surgical procedure. Your medical history, including previous transplants, smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, and ability to follow medical advice will also affect your possibility for transplant. All of these issues are considered for each patient separately, to ensure that the best decision is made for that individual.

    Since transplant requires a lifelong commitment to taking medication and to having regular physician contact, patients also must understand and be willing to accept this responsibility. There is no absolute age or obesity cut-off. Each patient is evaluated individually by several members of the transplant team and their case discussed in a committee to determine their eligibility. Read more »

    Do I need to bring a donor?

    It is not necessary to have a living donor. Almost 2/3 of kidney transplants in the nation are with deceased donors. There are, however, huge advantages to live donor transplantation including much shorter waiting time and improved outcomes.

    If you must have a deceased donor, you can be listed for both a Standard Criteria Donor, and an Expanded Criteria Donor. The Standard Criteria Donors (SCD) are a broad group of donors that are generally good kidneys. Unfortunately, nationally, there are only less than 10,000 of these transplants done every year.

    Last year there were almost 90,000 patients on the kidney transplant waiting list. The ECD donor kidneys allow for a few more transplants every year, but are not appropriate for all patients because they come from older donors. The pay-off for the ECD list, however, is a shorter waiting time. As mentioned above, Kentucky has some of the shortest wait times in the nation.

  • David Morrow

    David Morrow, the 57-year-old science and language arts teacher at East Washington Middle School in Pekin, Ind., is now in his 35th year of teaching and still going strong. That alone is impressive. Even more impressive? The fact that Morrow is back in his classroom today after undergoing a combined heart and kidney transplant at UK HealthCare. Read more.