kidney

Kidney Transplant Program

The Adult Kidney Transplant Program at Massachusetts General Hospital provides individualized, ongoing care for patients with end-stage renal disease (kidney failure).
Request an appointment Refer a patient

Call to make a referral 877-644-2860

Overview

A pioneer in organ transplant since 1963, the Adult Kidney Transplant Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Transplant Center employs leading-edge medical and surgical technology to provide individualized care for patients with chronic kidney disease. Our expert surgeons have performed more than 3,000 kidney transplants, and have achieved some of the best graft and patient survival rates in the country. In 2017, 40% of patients receiving kidney transplants at Mass General never needed a single dialysis treatment prior to transplant, which is more than twice the national average. 

Learn about our programs:

Kidney transplant patients typically require lifelong immunosuppressive medications to prevent their immune systems from attacking the new organ. However, our ground-breaking research is allowing some patients to live drug-free after transplant. We also offer options for highly sensitized patients, patients with incompatible living donors, and patients with challenging medical or surgical issues.

Leadership in Kidney Transplantation

We have consistently led the field in tolerance or the acceptance of transplanted organs without long-term immunosuppression. We performed the first successful tolerance induction for renal allografts in patients with multiple myeloma in 1998. We initiated the first ITN-sponsored clinical tolerance trials for adults in 2001, and performed the first successful tolerance induction in mismatched renal transplant recipients in 2008.

High Kidney Transplant Volumes

Mass General performs significantly more kidney transplants than other Massachusetts institutions. Our high volume of kidney transplants – and skilled team of kidney transplant surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and social workers who guide patients through every stage of care– help us to attain excellent results in treating patients who need a kidney transplant. Learn more.

Advanced Evaluation, Multidisciplinary Care

All our patients receive integrated, comprehensive care to treat chronic renal failure, beginning with a careful assessment and discussion with the patient to ensure that transplantation is his/her best treatment option. Candidates work with a transplant coordinator, who participates in the initial evaluation, gathers medical information and previous test results. The transplant coordinator also manages the patient’s full evaluation, which includes patient education, medical, surgical and psychosocial evaluation, and transplant-specific testing. Learn more about the pre-transplant evaluation

Kidney transplant candidates are placed on the national United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list, which manages the distribution of organs nationwide. Learn more about the waiting list

Kidney Transplant Clinic Locations

Kidney Evaluation Clinic Locations

 

Care at Your Convenience

The Mass General Kidney Transplant Program also conducts a monthly evaluation clinic at four locations throughout New England. Please ask your patient service coordinator for more information on scheduling an appointment at one of these convenient locations.

Transplantation for Incompatible Donor-recipient Pairs

Mass General is a leader in transplanting patients whose live donor is incompatible with them, either because of blood group or anti-HLA antibodies. We offer:

  • Desensitization therapy, in which antibodies are removed from the recipient in advance of transplantation. Mass General has performed dozens of these procedures over the last 10-15 years. The success of this approach was recently described in a New England Journal of Medicine article
  • Paired Kidney Exchange, through the National Kidney Registry or UNOS.  These transplants are sometimes called “swap” programs, in which a recipient’s incompatible donor donates to someone else (often in another city), while their recipient receives a kidney from another, compatible donor

Learn more about programs for patients with incompatible living donors

Living Donor Evaluation

Those interested in living kidney donation can contact our donor coordinator for a confidential conversation to learn more, without any commitment to donation. Medical, surgical and psychosocial evaluation begins only after a prospective donor is fully educated and has consented to donate, and candidates may withdraw from the donation process at any time. Learn more about the donor evaluation

Post-Transplant Care

After transplantation, patients are followed by our team of surgeons, nephrologists and nurses who manage the post-transplant needs of the patient, including communication with the patient’s primary care physicians and referral to other specialists, as needed. Learn more about post-transplant care

 

Become a Donor

Donating a kidney to another individual is an act of great kindness. Nearly half of the kidneys transplanted at Mass General are given by living donors—family members, friends, co-workers and donors who are unknown to the recipient.

Living donor kidney transplants have several benefits, including:

  • Eliminates the need for placement on a waiting list
  • Better short and long-term survival rates
  • Recipient knows the donor, his/her lifestyle and medical history
  • Shortens the wait time for others on the waiting list
  • Transplant surgery can be scheduled at the donor and recipient's convenience
  • Fewer recipients require temporary dialysis after a living donor transplant compared to a decreased donor transplant

Individuals who wish to become living kidney donors undergo a three-part evaluation process, as described below. Our dedicated donor coordinators guide potential donors through each step, keeping them informed of testing and evaluation results. Typically, the recipient's insurance will cover the cost of the evaluation and surgery.

Phase One: Living Donor Health Questionnaire

  • Donor evaluation begins with the prospective donor submitting a completed living donor health questionnaire to determine their overall health status and candidacy to donate
  • Once a completed living donor health questionnaire is received, the donor will receive a confirmation email with further instructions

Phase Two: Multidisciplinary Team Evaluation (Part 1)

  • Candidates come to Mass General for a half-day donor evaluation visit. This visit includes an educational session, a meeting with the donor coordinator, social worker and a nephrologist (a doctor who specializes in kidney care), who reviews the candidate’s medical history and conducts a physical examination
  • The physical examination includes blood work, urine tests and an electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • After the visit, the donor candidate will complete a 24-hour urine collection and have additional blood tests, which can be completed at a laboratory close to the candidate’s home. Based on the medical history and physical exam, other tests may be necessary and can often be scheduled close to the candidate’s home

Phase Three: Multidisciplinary Team Evaluation (Part 2)

  • The donor candidate returns to Mass General for a computed tomography (CT) scan of the kidneys and blood vessels, as well as any other necessary consultations
  • This visit includes meeting with the surgeon to discuss the candidate’s ability to donate, as well as the surgical procedure and hospital experience
  • The donor candidate also meets with the independent donor advocate, who is a social worker that works with the donor candidate to ensure that his or her best interests are represented and that decisions made are to the benefit of the donor

Once all tests are complete, the donor’s candidacy is reviewed at the Mass General Transplant Center’s multidisciplinary kidney transplant selection meeting. If the donor is approved, donation surgery can be scheduled on a date that is convenient for both the donor and recipient.

Our Team

Surgeons

  • Elias, Nahel, MD, FACS

    617-726-5277

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Kidney (renal) transplant
    • Liver transplant
    • Hepatobiliary surgery
    • Liver cancer
    • Hepatocellular carcinoma, Cholangiocarcinoma, Liver tumors
    • Hepatitis C
    Board Certifications
    • Surgery
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Markmann, James F., MD, PhD

    617-643-4533

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    •  Pancreas and islet transplant
    • Hepatobiliary surgery
    • Vascular access for hemodialysis
    • Kidney (renal) transplant
    • Minimally Invasive Surgery
    • Liver Transplant
    Board Certifications
    • Surgery
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Yeh, Heidi MD

    617-726-6631

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Surgery
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Kawai, Tatsuo MD, PhD

    617-726-0289

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Laparoscopic donor nephrectomy
    • Organ transplantation (kidney, liver and pancreas)
    • Vascular access surgery for renal failure
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Kimura, Shoko MD

    617-643-4533

    Accepting New Patients

    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Dageforde, Leigh Anne MD, MPH

    617-726-5277

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Transplant surgery
    • Hepatobiliary surgery
    • Hepatocellular carcinoma, Cholangiocarcinoma, Liver tumors
    • Liver cancer
    • Hepatocellular carcinoma
    • Liver transplant
    • Liver surgery
    • Kindney (renal) transplant
    • Pancreas and islet transplant
    • Kidney disease in solid organ transplant recipients
    • Kidney disease
    • Liver tumors
    • Liver, billary and pancreatic disease
    • Liver disease
    • Liver tumors
    • Liver, billary and pancreatic disease
    • Liver disease
    • Liver failure
    Board Certifications
    • Surgery
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Cosimi, Benedict MD

    617-726-5277

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Hepatobiliary surgery
    • Melanoma
    • Gastrointestinal surgery
    • Kidney (renal) transplant
    Board Certifications
    • Surgery
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

Nephrologists

  • Heher, Eliot C., MD

    617-726-5277

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Kidney (renal) transplant
    • Kidney disease in solid organ transplant recipients
    Board Certifications
    • Nephrology
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Gilligan, Hannah, MD

    617-726-5050

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Kidney (renal) transplant
    • Kidney disease in solid organ transplant recipients
    Board Certifications
    • Nephrology
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Tolkoff-Rubin, Nina E., MD

    617-726-3706

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Kidney (renal) transplant
    • Chronic renal failure
    • Dialysis
    • Urinary tract infection
    • Acute renal failure
    Board Certifications
    • Internal Medicine
    • Nephrology
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Safa, Kassem, MD

    617-726-5050

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Kidney (renal) transplant
    • Kidney disease in solid organ transplant recipients
    Board Certifications
    • Internal Medicine
    • Nephrology
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Williams, Winfred W., MD

    617-726-6631

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Dialysis
    • Kidney (renal) transplant
    • Nephrology
    Board Certifications
    • Nephrology
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Wojciechowski, David M., DO

    617-644-2860

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Kidney (renal) transplant
    • Nephrology
    Board Certifications
    • Nephrology
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

Infectious Disease Specialists

  • Fishman, Jay, MD

    617-726-3812

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Infection in immunocompromised hosts
    • Viral and fungal infections
    • Medical education
    • Infections after transplant
    • Molecular diagnostics
    • Infectious diseases
    Board Certifications
    • Infectious Disease
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Kim, Arthur, MD

    617-726-3906

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
    • Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
    • AIDS and HIV infection
    • HIV/HCV coinfection
    • Substance abuse
    • Travel medicine
    • Immunocompromised patient
    • Immunology
    Board Certifications
    • Internal Medicine
    • Infectious Disease
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Kotton, Camille, MD

    617-724-0082

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Vaccines and immunizations
    • Reducing infectious risks in Transplant recipients
    • Immunocompromised patient
    Board Certifications
    • Infectious Disease
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Poznansky, Mark, MD, PhD

    617-726-3906

    Accepting New Patients

    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Rosenberg, Eric, MD

    617-724-7519

    Not Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Infectious diseases
    • Clinical microbiology
    Board Certifications
    • Infectious Disease
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • El-Khoury, Joseph, MD

    617-726-3906

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Infectious Disease
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Mansour, Michael, MD, PhD

    617-726-6726

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Internal Medicine
    • Infectious Disease
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Letourneau, Alyssa, MD

    617-726-3812

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Immunocompromised patient
    • Mycobacterial infection
    Board Certifications
    • Pediatrics
    • Internal Medicine
    • Infectious Disease
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Turbett, Sarah, MD

    617-726-3812

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Internal Medicine
    • Infectious Disease
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Sen, Pritha, MD

    617-726-3812

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Internal Medicine
    • Infectious Disease
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

Psychiatrists

  • Ivkovic, Ana, MD

    617-726-2984

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Psychiatry
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Purcell, John, MD

    617-726-1736

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Psychiatry
    Board Certifications
    • Psychiatry
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Prager, Laura, MD

    617-724-5600

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
    • Psychiatry
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Smith, Felicia, MD

    617-643-6349

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Emergency psychiatry
    • Psychosomatic medicine
    Board Certifications
    • Psychiatry
    • Psychosomatic Medicine
    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Kolappa, Kavitha, MD, MPH

    617-726-2984

    Accepting New Patients

    Locations
    • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital

Conditions & Diseases

The links below provide more information about conditions and diseases that might be treated within this program.

  • Analgesic Nephropathy

    Analgesic nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease that gradually leads to end-stage renal disease and the need for permanent dialysis or a kidney transplant.

  • Biliary Cirrhosis / Bile Duct Cancer

    Biliary cirrhosis is a rare form of liver cirrhosis, caused by disease or defects of the bile ducts.

  • Diabetes

    Type 1 diabetes may also be known by a variety of other names, including the following: insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), juvenile diabetes, brittle diabetes, or sugar diabetes.

  • Diabetic Neuropathy (Nerve Problems)

    Diabetic neuropathy, a nerve disorder, is a complication of diabetes that can lead to problems throughout the body.

  • End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)

    Renal failure refers to temporary or permanent damage to the kidneys that results in loss of normal kidney function.

  • Glomerulonephritis

    Glomerulonephritis is a type of glomerular kidney disease in which the kidneys' filters become inflamed and scarred, and slowly lose their ability to remove wastes and excess fluid from the blood to make urine.

  • Glomerulosclerosis

    Glomerulosclerosis is the term used to describe scarring that occurs within the kidneys in the small balls of tiny blood vessels called the glomeruli.

  • Goodpasture Syndrome

    Goodpasture syndrome is a rare, autoimmune disease that can affect the lungs and kidneys.

  • Hematuria (Blood in the Urine)

    Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the urine.

  • Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome

    Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a rare condition that mostly affects children under the age of 10. It is often characterized by damage to the lining of blood vessel walls, destruction of red blood cells, and kidney failure.

  • Hypoparathyroidism

    Underactive parathyroid glands do not produce enough parathyroid hormones. This causes low levels of calcium in the blood.

  • Immunoglobulin A (IgA) Nephropathy

    IgA nephropathy is a chronic kidney disease that may progress over a period of 10 to 20 years, and can lead to end-stage renal disease.

  • Nephrotic Syndrome

    Nephrotic syndrome is a condition often characterized by the following: very high levels of protein in the urine, low levels of protein in the blood, swelling, especially around the eyes, feet, and hands, as well as high cholesterol.

  • Polycystic Kidney Disease

    Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts filled with fluid in the kidneys.

  • Renal Vascular Disease

    Renal vascular disease is the name given to a variety of complications that affect the arteries and veins of the kidneys.

Research

New Immunosuppression Regimens

Transplant patients take medications to keep their immune system from rejecting their new organs. The standard medications used today are effective but have many side effects, including toxicity to the transplanted kidney which tends to shorten the lifespan of the organ. Less toxic drugs have been developed to support better long-term kidney function. The MGH Transplant Center is one of many academic medical centers conducting clinical trials using these newer immunosuppressive agents. ]


Immunosuppression Minimization/Withdrawal

In spite of advances over the last 50 years in anti-rejection medications, the side effects of long-term immunosuppressive therapy remain a major problem for post-transplant patients. The MGH Transplant Center has been a leader in developing procedures that allow transplant patients to take fewer or no medications. These protocols continue to improve in living donor kidney transplantation and will soon expand to include patients who receive deceased donor kidneys as well.


Islet Transplantation

The absence of insulin-producing cells in the body results in type 1 diabetes. Islet transplantation replaces the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas without the risks of major abdominal surgery that come with a whole organ pancreas transplant. The MGH Transplant Center is one of the few centers in the country, and the only in New England, that can isolate and transplant pancreatic islets. Islet transplantation is an option for patients who have had a previous kidney transplant and for those without kidney disease.


Infections after Transplant

Infections after transplant are relatively common, especially within the first year. All transplant patients receive prophylactic therapy in order to prevent such infections. The MGH Transplant Center is participating in clinical trials which utilize different medications and monitoring of infections in order to prevent and treat post-transplant infections.


HOPE Act: HIV+ Donors for HIV+ Recipients

Until 2015, transplanting organs from HIV positive donors was not allowed under the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984. However, since HIV treatments have improved and HIV positive transplant recipients have done well after transplant, the HIV Organ Policy Equity (HOPE) Act was recently passed.

The HOPE Act allows organs from HIV positive donors to be transplanted into HIV positive recipients. These are organs that would have been discarded before the HOPE Act was passed. The MGH Transplant Center is one of the few hospitals in the United States doing these transplants.


Hepatitis C Positive Kidney Transplant for Hepatitis C Negative Recipients

Currently there are more available hepatitis C positive deceased donors in New England than there are recipients. With the arrival of new anti-viral agents Hepatitis C cure rates are almost at 100%. Under a clinical trial protocol we are now transplanting kidneys from donors who are positive for hepatitis C virus into select recipients who are not infected with the hepatitis C virus. Patients who enter into this trial receive immediate pre-emptive treatment for Hepatitis C. This will allow these selected recipients to be receive a transplant more quickly, avoiding many consequences of prolonged time on the waitlist and dialysis related complications.

News

Video

  • Jennifer Searl

    Jennifer Searl talks about receiving a combined kidney and bone marrow transplant

    When Massachusetts General Hospital gave Jennifer Searl the world’s first non-HLA-matched combined kidney and bone marrow transplant in 2002, it was more than just a scientific breakthrough. For Searl, it was the beginning of a new life.

  • 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.”

  • 3,000 Reasons to Celebrate

    3,000 Reasons to Celebrate

    Mary Anne, a health care professional, turned to Massachusetts General’s Transplant Program when she needed help. Her kidney transplant surgery, Massachusetts General’s 3,000th kidney transplant procedure, was reason to celebrate for many.

Contact

CONTACT US

Kidney Transplantation Program
165 Cambridge Street, Suite 301
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 877-644-2860
Fax: 617-724-8652

HOURS

Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 5:00 pm

KIDNEY EVALUATION CLINIC LOCATIONS

Massachusetts General Hospital
165 Cambridge Street, Suite 301
Boston, MA 02114

Massachusetts General Hospital
1750 Elm Street, Suite 201A
Manchester, NH 03104

Massachusetts General Hospital
38 Tyler Street, 2nd Floor
Nashua, NH 03060

Mass General/North Shore
102-104 Endicott Street
Danvers, MA 01923

Cooley Dickinson Hospital
30 Locust Street
Northampton, MA 01060

Request an appointment Refer a patient

Call to make a referral 877-644-2860

Back to Top