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Definition of Kidney transplant

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Kidney transplant: A surgical procedure using a donor kidney to treat kidney failure.

Transplantation is a preferred treatment over dialysis because of its improved outcomes.

The principal problems in kidney transplantation are immunologic, i.e. avoiding rejection of the transplanted kidney by the recipient's immune system.

The first kidney transplant was done in Boston by surgeon Joseph E. Murray in 1954. (This was the first successful human organ transplant.) Murray removed a kidney from Ronald Herrick and transplanted it to his identical twin, Richard Herrick (and thereby skirted the immunologic problems). In 1990, Murray shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with E. Donnall Thomas "for their discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease."

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