Kidney Transplantation Program

Kidney Transplantation Program

The Kidney Transplantation Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Transplant Center has been offering comprehensive evaluation and care for patients with chronic renal failure, including end-stage renal disease, since 1963.


The Kidney Transplantation Program draws on state-of-the-art technology and leading-edge medical and surgical interventions to provide patients with individualized, ongoing care for chronic kidney disease.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Kidney Disease Care

Every Transplant Center patient has a personal care team composed of kidney disease specialists and includes:

  • Transplant nephrologists (kidney specialists)
  • Kidney transplant surgeons
  • Infectious disease specialists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Nurse coordinators
  • Immunologists
  • Pharmacists
  • Social workers
  • Financial services representatives

The care team meets regularly and works with patients and referring physicians to optimize patients’ well-being, providing the best possible care and outcomes.

Advanced Kidney Transplant Evaluation

All patients are carefully evaluated to see if they are good candidates for transplant. Both inpatient and outpatient kidney transplant candidates work with a transplant coordinator, who lays the groundwork for their initial evaluation by gathering:

  • Medical information
  • Previous test results
  • Patient medical history, including prior hospitalizations

The coordinator then manages the patient evaluation, which generally includes:

  • Comprehensive patient education sessions
  • Blood work
  • EKG
  • Radiological tests
  • Heart exercise tests
  • Social worker’s appraisal

The Kidney Transplant Waiting List

Kidney transplant patients are placed on the national United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) list, which manages the distribution of organs nationwide. In New England, the regional waiting list is managed by the New England Organ Bank.

We also participate in the paired donor exchange program for the New England Program for Kidney Exchange

We have an active living donor transplant program that matches transplant patients with related, unrelated or ABO incompatible living donors. We also have a successful desensitization program for patients with a positive crossmatch to their living donors.

Kidney Dialysis Access Program

Patients with complex end-stage renal disease (ESRD) can receive their care and treatment through our Dialysis Access Program. This program allows patients to consider many options of chronic dialysis care, including:

  • Fistulas
  • Grafts
  • Peritoneal dialysis catheters

Our interdisciplinary team of physicians and dialysis coordinators provide expert access management, from dialysis access placement to urgent care and long-term follow-up. They are here to ensure our hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients receive prompt and personal care.

To make an appointment, refer a patient or for urgent clinical matters, please call the Kidney Dialysis Access Hotline at 877-MGH-ACCESS (877-644-2223).

24/7 Access for Patients

After patients are discharged, our nursing and medical teams closely monitor their status. Patients can speak with a transplant nurse about a variety of topics, including:

  • Medications
  • Diet
  • Activity
  • General health concerns

Patients can also receive help arranging for stays at intermediate care facilities, or the implementation of home services, following discharge.

For more information, please contact the Transplant Intake Coordinator, at 877-644-2860.

About this Program

A pioneer in organ transplant since 1963, the Kidney Transplantation Program performs some of the highest volumes of kidney transplants in the region.

Facing the challenges of lifelong immunosuppressive medications, our work in tolerance induction in kidney transplantation is now allowing these patients to live drug-free after their transplantations. Read a news article about this procedure

Hope for Patients Requiring the Most Complex Transplants

Our Transplant Center is a destination for any patient requiring transplantation, including multiple organ transplants and advanced care options. This includes new and unique options for patients who have end-stage renal disease from diabetes through whole organ pancreas transplantation or islet cell transplantation.

Leadership in Research & Education

Our robust research programs provide patients with access to cutting-edge therapies and clinical trials. As a result, our research laboratories attract fellows from around the world.

We also have an International Transplant Observership through the Office of Visitor Education to facilitate knowledge sharing and expertise with transplant clinicians around the world.

Our groundbreaking work in the area of tolerance induction for kidney transplant patients has included the following advancements:

  • New England’s first successful clinical trial of tolerance induction for renal allografts in patients with multiple myeloma in 1998
  • First ITN-sponsored clinical tolerance trials for adults in 2001 and 2002
  • World’s first successful tolerance induction in mismatched renal recipients in 2008
  • New England's first successful laparoscopic donor nephrectomy in 1998

Our patients also benefit from the work we have done to pioneer new approaches in the area of acute antibody-mediated rejection.

Clinical Trials

Current clinical trials include research into additional applications for tolerance induction in kidney recipients. Highly sensitized patients may also participate in clinical trials to create desensitization. ABO-incompatible patients have access to a protocol attempting to create compatibility, making them candidates for transplantation. Browse online for open trials.

A Dedicated Referral Line for Physicians and Patients

We provide patients and referring physicians with an experienced access coordinator, a clinician who helps assess patient needs, coordinate appointments and begin the appropriate testing regimen. Contact the Kidney Transplant Center’s access coordinator

Calls will be returned within 24 hours.

Support & Wellness

Mass General is dedicated to ensuring that people understand their health care choices and have the necessary information to make decisions affecting their health and well being. The related support and wellness information listed below can play a role in treatment options.


  • A new beginning - 5/19/2015, Mass General

    Shea Hammond's story begins in 2006, when he was 16. At a time when most teens think about homework, hanging out with friends and dating, Hammond was focused on finding a donor for his failing kidneys.

  • Kidney transplant patients meet their matches - 4/3/2012, Mass General

    John Marzelli and Esperanza Yoblonsky were suffering from IgA nephropathy and both needed a new kidney; they found the answer in the Mass General Transplant Center’s internal exchange program.

  • Andrew Johnson Bounces Back After Kidney Transplant - 9/16/2011, Mass General

    Toddler Andrew Johnson is thriving since receiving his mother’s kidney in a transplant at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

  • A grateful family thanks MGH Transplant Center staff - 4/15/2011, Mass General

    MGH Hotline 4.15.11 When 35-year-old Eric Walker was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2006, the life of the once energetic husband and father of three young children changed completely.

  • Overcoming chronic kidney disease - 4/11/2011, Mass General

    When 14-year-old Kassie Holmes was faced with going back on dialysis or receiving a kidney transplant, Avram Traum, MD, recommended a transplant regiment that did not include steroids.

  • Transplant Center recognized for organ donation rate - 12/15/2009, Mass General

    The Department of Health and Human Services awarded the Transplant Center a Medal of Honor for its outstanding achievements in organ donation, including a donation rate of 75 percent or more eligible donors.

  • Mass General experts discuss diabetes - 11/3/2009, Mass General

    Our physicians discuss the education, management and prevention of diabetes, a condition affecting nearly 24 million adults and children in the United States.

  • Transplant Center recognized as a leader in patient education - 9/8/2009, Mass General

    Clinicians at the Transplant Center received a National Health Information Award for developing an outstanding patient education book and streamlining the patient evaluation process.

  • Transplant Center patients and donor families celebrate National Donate Life Month - 4/29/2009, Mass General

    The Transplant Center celebrated Donate Life Month by raising public awareness about the importance of organ donation and also extending thanks to the many organ donors and families who have given the generous gift of life to others.

  • New procedure, new life - 12/1/2008, Clinical

    Eight years ago, Jennifer Searl used a handicapped permit to get around campus at the University of New Hampshire. Last October, Searl, 26, ran a half-marathon and felt so good afterward she immediately signed up for another. In between these two extremes lies not only a journey of a thousand steps, but one taken along a path Searl herself blazed - with help from the Massachusetts General Hospital Transplant Center.


  • Transplant Center milestones

    Transplant Center Research: What Will We Discover Next?

    At the Transplant Center, clinicians and scientists work side by side to develop innovative therapies that have revolutionized transplant medicine around the globe. These dynamic interactions are a unique strength of the center, leading to a number of groundbreaking "firsts" that continue to improve the lives of patients.

  • andrew johnson pediatric kidney transplant

    The Johnsons: Mother donates kidney to toddler son

    An ultrasound at 19 weeks showed that Andrew Johnson would be born with kidney functionality complications. Fortunately for Andrew, his mother was a compatible donor, and when he was strong enough, Andrew underwent kidney transplantation at MassGeneral Hospital for Children Transplant Center. “Everyone was so nervous that day,” Tara Johnson states. “I was elated.”


Contact Us

Kidney Transplantation Program

Suite 301165 Cambridge Street Boston, MA 02114
  • Phone: 877-644-2860
  • Fax: 617-724-8652


  • Monday - Friday, 8:30 am-5:00 pm

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