The Washington University and Barnes-Jewish kidney transplant program has long been a national leader in transplantation. Now, one of the largest and most experienced kidney transplant programs in the United States is celebrating a major milestone—50 years of changing lives.
The program’s first successful kidney transplant was performed on Sept. 24, 1963. Since then, surgeons have performed more than 4,050 kidney transplants, including more than 80 kidney-pancreas transplants.
“Reaching this significant achievement is a true testament to the tremendous experience and dedication of our whole team,” says Daniel Brennan, MD, medical director of the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish kidney transplant program. “Our patients are the most important part of our team and always our main focus.”
“One thing that really sets our program apart is that every patient is treated like an individual,” says Jason Wellen, MD, surgical director of the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish kidney transplant and kidney-pancreas transplant programs. “I’m proud to be part of a program that has been—and continues to be—on the forefront of both surgical and medical innovations in kidney transplantation.”
The Washington University and Barnes-Jewish kidney transplant program has one of the lowest rejection rates in the world, less than 5 percent. Dr. Brennan, known in his field as an innovator in immunosuppression, is an integral player in the program’s success. A Washington University nephrologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital for more than 20 years, he’s been involved in many groundbreaking studies that have helped pave the way for the current standard of care in transplant management.
Washington University kidney transplant specialists are also pioneers in living donor transplants and have helped advance the living-donor paired kidney exchange. Some of the kidney transplant program’s highlights include:
• In 2010, the program participated in the nation’s first United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)-coordinated matched paired organ transplant.
• Washington University surgeons were the first in Missouri to perform a kidney-liver transplant, as well as a kidney-pancreas transplant.
Since 2008, the Barnes-Jewish combined kidney-pancreas transplant program has dramatically increased its volume. In 2012, surgeons performed 20 kidney-pancreas transplantations.
“A kidney-pancreas transplant is a wonderful option for people who have type 1diabetes,” says Christina Klein, MD, medical director of the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish pancreas transplant program. “Over time, elevated blood sugars can cause diabetic nephropathy—or kidney damage—due to diabetes.”
As the Transplant Center continues to offer more kidney transplant options than any other center in the region, its team of experts will remain focused on its No. 1 priority—providing the best possible care.
“We look forward to our program having another successful 50 years and more,” says Dr. Wellen.
“Building relationships with our patients is the most rewarding part of what we do, and we’ll continue to try to make every day the best we can and work to improve the lives of every patient we see,” says Dr. Brennan.
Barnes-Jewish Hospital is a 1,315 bed teaching hospital affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. The hospital has a 1,763 member medical staff, with many recognized as "Best Doctors in America." Barnes-Jewish is a member of BJC HealthCare, which provides a full range of health care services through its 13 hospitals and more than 100 health care sites in Missouri and Illinois. Barnes-Jewish Hospital is also consistently ranked as one of America’s “Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.