Kidney & Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Programs

kidney transplant

UK Transplant Center provides kidney transplants for adults and children with end-stage kidney disease, also known as renal failure. 

The UK Kidney Transplant program has been a leader in advanced kidney failure since 1964 when we completed our first live-donor kidney transplant. We’ve been saving lives ever since: more than 3,000 kidney transplants have taken place at UK Transplant Center since our program was founded.

In addition to deceased donor organ transplants, we offer a living kidney donor program, which provides patients with end-stage kidney disease an alternate avenue to finding a matched kidney donor. As part of our living kidney donor program, we participate with the Paired Kidney Exchange Program through the National Kidney Registry (NKR), the nonprofit organization that manages the nation’s organ transplant system. In 2015, the UK Transplant Center performed the largest kidney donor chain in the state’s history.

A pancreas transplant is an effective procedure enabling a person with type 1 (or juvenile) diabetes to become insulin independent. In an overwhelming majority of the cases, the recipient also receives a kidney transplant either simultaneously or preceding the pancreas transplantation.

Make an appointment

Appointments available

If you are a new patient or would like to learn more about UK HealthCare Transplant Center services, please call us toll-free at 866-285-4337.

Current patients

If you are a patient and need to reach a member of your transplant team, please contact us at:

Kidney and pancreas transplant team

Toll-free: 866-474-6544   
Local: 859-323-6544

Living donor kidney transplant team

Local: 859-323-2467

Am I a candidate?

Most patients with irreversible kidney failure are potential candidates for kidney transplant. Overall health and well-being are important. For example, you must have stable heart and lung function in order to safely withstand the surgical procedure. Your medical history, including previous transplants, smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, and ability to follow medical advice will also affect your possibility for transplant. All of these factors are considered for each patient separately, to ensure that the best decision is made for that individual.

Since transplant requires a lifelong commitment to taking medication and to having regular physician contact, patients also must understand this responsibility. There is no absolute age or obesity cut-off. Each patient is evaluated individually by several members of the transplant team and their case is discussed in a committee to determine their eligibility.

Living kidney donor benefits

Kidney transplants can come from two sources: a living donor or a deceased donor. Living donor transplants offer recipients better long-term survival rates and shorter wait times compared to kidneys donated from a deceased donor and allow patients faster receipt of a new kidney without the average four to six year wait. Today medical providers are even able to transplant kidneys from unrelated living donors (like a spouse or friend) with success similar to kidneys donated from a blood relative. New medications make it possible to donate without a family link to the recipient but the donor and recipient must have compatible blood types.

Anyone who is generally healthy and has normal kidney function can donate. Donors will live healthy lives with just one kidney because the remaining organ enlarges to compensate for the donated organ. Living donor kidneys have a lower rejection rate than deceased donors and start to function more quickly as well.

Learn more about the living kidney donor program »

Education & resources

Kidney transplant education


The purpose of this guide is to provide you and your family with a better understanding of the transplant process. The information in this book also will help you understand what questions to ask and to whom to ask those questions. We hope that by carefully reading through this book, you will be better prepared for your situation. 

Helpful links

For additional information about transplant, visit the Web sites listed below. These sites are reputable organizations that offer reliable information.

Support Group

The University of Kentucky Abdominal Transplant Support Group is open to patients in all phases of either kidney or liver transplant and their loved ones to discuss the transplant process. The support group is facilitated by our experts in transplant social work and will occasionally feature scheduled topics or presentations. This is a place for supportive sharing and casual conversation about stories and experiences.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the unique health concerns of transplant patients, this support group is closed to in-person meetings. There will be a zoom meeting for those interested. Please email Jacqueline Thomas for information.

Patient stories

Conrad Webster

Conrad Webster knew his time was almost up. A double transplant changed that.

Louisville man receives heart, kidney transplants at UK HealthCare

He pushed through a failing heart for a decade, determined to avoid undergoing a transplant. But in the past year, 49-year-old Conrad Webster knew his time was almost up. Read Conrad's story »

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