Overview

Kidney transplant service

A kidney transplant operation is when a healthy kidney from one person is placed in the body of another person with kidney disease. The person receiving the kidney is called the recipient. 

A kidney is either donated by someone who has died or from a living person.

Not everyone is suitable to have a transplant. If you're suitable for a transplant it will usually give you a better quality of life than dialysis. Your kidney team will talk with you about transplantation during your clinic visits. You may need several tests and medical examinations to help decide whether you're suitable for a transplant.

Our transplant surgeons need to confirm you are suitable before you can be:

  • added to the transplant waiting pool, or
  • put forward for a living donor kidney transplant

Wards

You'll stay on Richard Bright ward if you're having a kidney transplant.

Having a kidney transplant video

Watch our video about the different types of kidney transplants we offer and how having a transplant has benefited our patients.

Hi, my name is Chris Callaghan. I'm a transplant surgeon at Guy's Hospital.

I'm involved with kidney transplantation, also pancreas transplantation.

A transplant is when an organ is removed from one person and put into another person's body.

A transplant can either come from someone who's passed away (a deceased donor) or from a living donor.

Transplants can be a heart, a lung, a kidney or a pancreas or other organs and for some patients with diabetes and kidney failure, a kidney and pancreas transplant might be suitable.

For most patients with kidney failure a kidney transplant is the best option.

If you have kidney failure then we would hope that a kidney transplant would not only prolong your life but give you a better quality of life and give you the best chance of having the type of lifestyle that you had before you developed kidney disease.

Although kidney transplantation is the best option for most patients with kidney disease, it's not always the right option for all people.

There are risks and benefits that come along with kidney transplantation and it's important that your treatment options are raised with you as soon as possible once you have the diagnosis of kidney disease.

The kidney team will discuss the risks and benefits of transplantation with you as soon as possible so that you can make a decision about what's best not just for you but also for your family.

Hello my name is Cheryl. I donated my kidney to the kidney sharing scheme and this is my husband George.

My name is George, I'm Cheryl's husband. I'm a recipient of a kidney from the kidney sharing scheme which means I am a kidney transplant patient.

I was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure 3 years ago.

As a result of that I went on to dialysis.

When we found out that George needed a transplant the doctor told us about the different options that we could take. One was for him to be on the deceased list.

The other option was for family to donate. So I agreed, I said that I would do that.

I had to be worked up for that, so they gave me lots of tests but we found out that our blood groups weren't compatible. So the other option that they told us we could do was what's called the shared scheme.

Basically what that meant was they would have a pool of people and then every few months they would look at those pool of people and see whose blood groups matched.

I wasn't concerned. I wasn't worried. I knew it was something that I wanted to do. So for me personally there weren't any concerns.

It's a big operation. I didn't realise how big it is, so it does take a lot out of you, but the whole process for us was a positive experience.

If anyone was considering doing the kidney sharing scheme is to go ahead and do it. For us it was the quickest, it was the best way. We were very, very informed at all times, lots of communication, so I would say yes go ahead and do it.

Hi, I'm Christian. I'm 25 years old, and 5 and a half months ago I had a kidney transplant from a deceased donor. I waited for 6 years for a kidney and it was quite nervous at some times.

You'd always have to figure out who was calling the phone.

It was actually on New Year's Day that I got the phone call so I didn't really expect it at all. I thought it was just a relative or someone calling to say Happy New Year. It was quite early in the morning so it woke me up.

When I realised the importance of the call I grabbed everything I could and quickly ran to the hospital. The team at Guy's Hospital where I had my transplant on Richard Bright ward were really helpful.

What seemed to me a really panicky situation, having to quickly run in and not knowing whether or not I'd have my transplant, they seemed able to calm me down, and very good standard of care I think at Guy's Hospital.

Previously when I was on dialysis, work was really hard to either get into or keep focused and just 6 months after transplant I'm ready, going in for interviews for the career choice that I really wanted to do.

At the moment I feel really great. It's hard to believe that only 6, 7 months ago I needed to be hooked up to a machine just in order to have a decent standard of life.

To other people waiting for a kidney, I would say I really hope you get one soon. It makes all the difference in your life, and to those who are debating whether to go on the list or not, there's obviously only one choice really that it should be to have a kidney transplant.

Hello my name is Gillian. I'm 45 years old and I had a kidney-pancreas transplant 4 years ago at Guy's and St Thomas'.

I've been diabetic since the age of 18 which had affected my kidneys over the years and gradually they just became less and less functional, and I'm finding I'm very tired all of the time so that was really difficult.

The people at Guy's and St Thomas' suggested to me that I could just have a kidney transplant, but also have a kidney and pancreas transplant and gave me lots of help and support in terms of making the decision.

It was a really nice feeling for me to have a choice in terms of my future and the different routes that I could take and it was fully up to me to decide whether I just wanted to have a kidney transplant or the kidney and pancreas transplant.

They gave me loads of leaflets, videos, I went along to a transplant education day. For me I came to the decision quite quickly and easily.

For me the advantage is being not having to be a diabetic anymore after 23 years was not just going to be amazing for me but also my family and my friends.

Also that having a new pancreas would mean that my new kidney wouldn't be affected any more by the diabetes.

For me post-transplant, it was so exciting to see the improvements in my health. It sounds silly but the first time I walked up a hill after the transplant I was literally in tears of joy when I got to the top, just to start feeling normal again.

The staff at Guy's have just been fantastic. I've always been thoroughly supported, really well looked after and always felt like the decisions that I took were supported by them.

For patients with kidney failure and who would like to have a kidney transplant and are suitable for it, a kidney transplant may come from a living donor or a deceased donor.

For most patients who decide to have a transplant we would suggest that a living donor would be the best option, as these kidney transplants most often work straight away and work for longest in the long run.

For patients who are unable to find a living donor, a deceased donor kidney is usually the next best option.

If you have diabetes and kidney failure and if you meet other specific criteria, then a kidney and pancreas transplant may be the best option for you.

Our consultants

Nicholas Barnett

Chris Callaghan

Francis Calder

Martin Drage

Peter Gogalniceanu

Nicos Kessaris

Ioannis Loukopoulos

Nizam Mamode

Hannah Maple

Jonathon Olsburgh

Georgios Papadakis

Kiran Sran

Rhana Zakri

Research and clinical trials

Research is vital to improving the care that you receive when you're unwell. You can help improve healthcare by taking part in research studies at our Trust. During your appointment, ask your health professional about research. They'll be happy to tell you about research studies you could be eligible to join.

You can also email [email protected] for more information.

Last updated: 21 September 2022

Contact us

Phone

Appointment queries: 020 7188 8820

Clinic reception: 020 7188 7922

Clinic letter and test result queries: 020 7188 5708

Email

Recipient coordinator team: [email protected]

Clinical transplant team: [email protected]

We'll reply to your email within 2 working days.

Addresses

Kidney clinic, 4th floor, Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT

We're open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

Richard Bright ward, 6th floor, Borough Wing, Guy's Hospital, Great Maze Pond, London SE1 9RT

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