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Kidney Failure

When kidney disease progresses to the point where the kidneys can no longer function on their own, doctors call this kidney failure. While kidney failure is a serious health condition, kidney transplant can offer an effective long-term solution.

At the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center, our kidney transplant specialists perform over 200 kidney transplants each year, more than any other program in the St. Louis region. We provide expert care, with kidney transplant outcomes (success rates) that consistently exceed national averages.

Common Conditions Leading to Kidney Failure & Transplant

Common conditions that may lead to a kidney transplant include:

  • Uncontrolled hypertension: Consistently high blood pressure that can slowly damage your organs
  • Diabetes: A disease that affects how the body produces or uses insulin, causing blood sugar levels to rise and fall
  • Polycystic kidney disease: An inherited condition where fluid-filled cysts grow inside your kidneys
  • Hypertensive nephrosclerosis: A condition where chronic high blood pressure damages the kidney’s tissue
  • Glomerular diseases: Conditions that attack the kidney’s ability to filter waste
  • Renovascular and other vascular diseases: Diseases that affect the kidney’s blood vessels

Kidney Failure: What You Should Know

Chronic kidney disease consists of various health conditions that affect how your kidneys function. Left untreated, chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure. There are two ways to treat this serious health condition:

  • Dialysis: A treatment that uses a machine to filter your blood
  • Kidney transplant: A surgery that replaces a diseased kidney with a healthy kidney from a donor

For most people, kidney disease progresses through different stages over a long period of time. Doctors typically consider kidney transplant once a patient reaches stage 4 chronic kidney disease. Talk to your doctor or meet with a member of our kidney transplant team to learn whether a kidney transplant could benefit you.

Transplant Surgery for Kidney Failure: Why Choose Us?

At the Transplant Center, our expert kidney transplant team provides comprehensive care throughout the entire transplant process. We offer: 

  • High volumes, excellent outcomes: We perform an average of 200 kidney transplants per year, which is the highest volume in the St. Louis region. Our kidney transplant outcomes consistently exceed national averages, and our organ rejection rates are some of the lowest in the country.
  • Leaders in research and innovation: Our partnership with Washington University School of Medicine means our specialists are always striving to improve the kidney transplant process. Our research efforts help us ensure the safest, most effective results for our patients.
  • Shorter transplant wait times: Our innovative efforts to living kidney donor matching help us match more eligible donors with suitable recipients. This approach means Barnes-Jewish transplant recipients can experience shorter wait times than at many other transplant programs in the country. Learn more about kidney transplant options.
  • Comprehensive living donor program: Doctors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital helped pioneer living kidney donor transplant. Close to 30% of our transplanted kidneys are from living donors, a testament to our well-structured living donor program. We offer a fast and comprehensive evaluation process, with dedicated living-kidney coordinators who navigate donors through their workup to make it as convenient and efficient as possible.
  • Patient and caregiver support: Patients and their loved ones can easily access education, support groups and our Transplant Mentor Program. In this program, people who have already had a kidney transplant provide insight, guidance and emotional support to those going through the transplant process.
  • Forward-thinking organ acquisition: Barnes-Jewish Hospital works closely with an innovative organ procurement organization, Mid-America Transplant. Because of their unique practices, kidneys from deceased donors spend less time (eight hours fewer) in cold storage compared to the national average. Their methods help kidneys work better, faster, and translate to a lower need for dialysis after transplant surgery.

Contact Us

For more information about the kidney transplant program at the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Transplant Center, call 855.925.0631.