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Kidney Transplant Program

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The Kidney Transplant Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital provides compassionate, state-of-the-art care to children who have kidney disease. Seattle Children’s is one of the top five kidney transplant centers in the United States.

We treat infants, children, teens and young adults from birth through age 21 for many types of short-term and chronic kidney disorders in our Nephrology Clinic. Nephrology is the branch of medicine that studies kidney functions and diseases.

For children with kidney failure, we provide care before, during and after kidney transplant. We have been treating kidney failure since 1984 and have excellent outcomes.

We also have inpatient and outpatient pediatric dialysis services available. Dialysis is a way to remove waste from the blood when the kidneys are not able to function on their own.

Your child will visit the Nephrology Clinic for most pre-transplant, post-transplant and dialysis appointments. The kidney transplantation surgery will also be performed at Seattle Children’s.

Our Team

Our kidney transplant team is led by Dr. Patrick Healey, Children’s division chief of Transplantation, and Dr. Ruth McDonald, medical director of Solid Organ Transplant at Children’s.

Dr. Healey is one of the few pediatric transplant surgeons with expertise in both transplantation and pediatric surgery. Dr. McDonald is a pediatric kidney specialist and transplant physician who is nationally known for her work in organ allocation policy development.

Our transplant doctors are constantly improving surgery techniques and immunosuppression strategies to provide patients and families with the most current treatments and the best care in pediatric nephrology.

What is a kidney transplant?

A kidney transplant is also called a renal transplant; "renal" means kidney-related. The transplant is the process of placing a healthy donor kidney in a patient who needs it. A transplant may involve removal of the patient’s own diseased kidneys. The transplant process requires extensive preparation and lifetime follow-up care.

Children need a kidney transplant because their kidneys have stopped working or will soon stop. When the kidneys are damaged or diseased and can no longer work, waste builds up in the blood and damages the body. Learn more about how the kidneys work.

There are many kidney diseases that can lead to kidney failure and the need for transplant.

How does the transplant process work?

One way that Seattle Children’s supports your child and family through this challenging time is by helping you understand as much as possible about the transplant process. Learn what to expect if your child needs a kidney transplant.

How long do children stay on dialysis?

Your child will remain on dialysis until a transplant is performed. Some children may require dialysis after transplant, until the new kidney is fully working.

During this time our dietitians, transplant nurses, social worker and pharmacists will teach your family about your child's new diet, medicines and many other aspects of transplant care.

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