With one of the largest pediatric nephrology programs in New York, Cohen Children’s pediatric nephrologists see more than 1,100 patients with kidney disease each year, including approximately 50 with end-stage kidney disease. Through our Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program, we provide seamless care for pediatric kidney transplant patients, allowing greater convenience, efficiency and more personalized treatment in the only Magnet-recognized children’s hospital in New York.
Our program boasts a team of surgeons with decades of pediatric transplant experience, including management of patients with complex anatomy and those with high immunologic risk. Our program provides state-of-the-art treatment, and is the only program in New York that provides lipoprotein apheresis for patients with post-transplant focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) recurrence.
Causes of kidney disease that may require a transplant include, but are not limited to:
- Renal dysplasia
- Posterior urethral valves
- Obstructive uropathy and reflux nephropathy
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Neurogenic bladder
- Typical and atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome
- Lupus nephritis
- IgA nephropathy
- Alport syndrome
- Metabolic disorders
FAQ: Receiving a kidney donation
Does my child need dialysis if they receive a transplant?
It depends. If a transplant is not available or the child is not yet ready for transplant, they may need dialysis until a transplant is possible. Other times, a child may receive a transplant prior to starting dialysis.
How does my child get listed for a transplant?
Patients in need of a transplant may call to schedule an evaluation or may be referred from their primary nephrologist. Our staff will typically schedule an evaluation within two weeks of initial request. For long-distance patients, accommodations can be made to help with travel and living arrangements. Please let us know what is needed so we can assist you. At the time of the transplant evaluation, patients will undergo a full evaluation by our multidisciplinary team. For patients referred by outside pediatric nephrologists, we will remain in close communication with your primary doctor to streamline and expedite your care. Once the evaluation and listing process is complete, patients will be eligible to receive a kidney transplant from a deceased donor or via living donation if a donor is available.
What can my family expect during surgery?
Patients will typically be admitted on the night prior to surgery, or early on the morning of surgery. A deceased donation can occur at any time of day or night, so patients should be readily available to come in as needed. Although surgical times vary based on the patient’s size and anatomy, a typical transplant lasts about four hours.
What can my family expect after surgery?
After surgery, your child will recover in our pediatric ICU. Typically, they will remain in the hospital for five to seven days, although recovery times may be longer. During the postoperative course, the patient will be closely monitored by the transplant and ICU teams. Teaching will be done on a daily basis to help prepare you and your family for discharge, and any needed medications will be obtained prior to discharge from the hospital.
What can my family expect after discharge?
The pediatric transplant team will continue to follow your child closely after discharge. Appointments will be quite frequent in the first few weeks after transplant and will be spaced out over time. For long-distance patients, initial post-transplant care will take place at Cohen Children’s Medical Center. A transition plan will be made to ensure safe transfer of care back to your primary team, and we will continue to follow and provide consultation along with them. The transplant team is available 24/7 to assist with any questions or problems that may arise. It is crucial that you inform the transplant team of any issues so that we can deal with them in an expedited manner.
FAQ: Donating a kidney
How can I donate a kidney?
In order to be a kidney donor, you have to be 18 or older and be in good health without high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease. Typically, donors are between the ages of 18 and 60, but if you are over 60 and in excellent health, you can be considered. You will have to undergo blood tests to see if your blood type is compatible with the recipient. The following lists matching blood types:
- O (donor) can donate to O, A, B, AB (recipient)
- A (donor) can donate to A, AB (recipient)
- B (donor) can donate to B, AB (recipient)
- AB (donor) can donate to AB (recipient)
If your blood type is compatible, you will need to have more testing to make sure you can donate your kidney. You will have a full evaluation by the donor team to ensure that donation is safe and appropriate.
What can I expect during surgery?
The majority of kidney donations are done by laparoscopic surgery. Our surgeons are experts in the single-port laparoscopic nephrectomy technique, which results in less pain and minimal scarring.
What can I expect after surgery?
Donors typically remain in the hospital for one to two days after surgery, and will then be seen by the donor team as an outpatient postoperatively. You will not need to be on any medications following the donation other than pain medication. Usually, donors only need this for a week or two after the surgery. Donors can drink the same amount as they did before surgery. You usually tell donors they can return to work two to three weeks after surgery, but your doctor will discuss this with you in person.
Will this affect my ability to have children?
Do I quality for medical leave of absence from my job?
Yes. Donors can contact their human resources department for details. The paperwork can be filled out by the surgeon.
Who will cover the cost of my workup and surgery?
The cost is 100 percent covered by the recipient's insurance.
Can I get financial assistance for being a kidney donor?
Although donors cannot be paid for donating a kidney, there are programs that can help donors with travel and hotel costs. Our financial coordinator can provide more details.