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Kidney Transplant Program

Types of Kidney Transplants

Our transplant patients receive kidneys from living and deceased organ donors. Here are some factors to consider about each type of transplant.

Living donors

Transplant patients who receive a kidney from a living donor have the best outcomes. If you receive a kidney from a living donor, your recovery is likely to be faster, and your body is less likely to reject the organ. Your new kidney also begins working quicker and continues working longer; this is because the kidney is usually healthier and outside the body for less time than one from a deceased donor.

Getting a kidney from a living donor also shortens the waiting time for a transplant. You do not have to compete for the limited supply of deceased-donor kidneys distributed through the national United Network for Organ Sharing. Getting off the waiting list for an organ also minimizes the length of time you need dialysis and the potential for harmful side effects, such as bone disease, heart attack and stroke.

A living donor can be related or unrelated to you as long as medical tests confirm that the donated kidney is a good match for you. For those who do not match there is now an alternative option for kidney donation called Paired Exchange. This program allows mismatching donor and recipient pairs to swap kidneys.

For more information about living donation, visit the Living Donation: Information You Need to Know by UNOS document.

Interested in donating a kidney? Call Emily at 302-623-3814 or fill out this Donate a Kidney form and someone will contact you about donating.

Deceased donors

You may receive a kidney through the United Network for Organ Sharing. This national organization matches kidneys donated by deceased individuals to patients on the waiting list for a transplant. Transplant centers list you for a transplant once you are medically cleared by all members of the team.

There are three types of deceased donors:

Standard-criteria donors are healthy people with no history of any significant medical problems. The kidney donation typically occurs after the donor dies from traumatic or self-inflicted injuries. If you receive a kidney from this type of donor, you have nearly the same long-term prognosis as if you received a kidney from a living donor. The wait for a kidney from this type of donor is typically very long.

Donation after cardiac death: These donors are people who suffered a fatal brain injury but whose death cannot be declared while connected to life support that maintains their heart or lung function. The act of organ donation takes place after the individual is removed from life support and dies naturally. You must sign a special consent form in order to receive a kidney from this type of donor, because there are more risks involved. A prolonged death can compromise the donated kidney. In most cases, this type of transplanted kidney will not function immediately. You also face a greater risk of organ rejection or failure.

Expanded-criteria donors are people who are over 60 years old and may have a history of kidney dysfunction, hypertension, diabetes, hepatitis C or other condition with the potential to compromise the kidney. The donation is allowed only if the kidney is sufficient for transplant. You must sign a special consent form because of the greater risk of rejection or failure of the transplanted organ. The transplant team is especially cautious about which patients receive kidneys from expanded-criteria donors. They tend to go to patients who will not need to rely on the organ as long because of their age or health, or whose condition is so severe they cannot continue to wait for another type of donor.

Other types of donors

Altruistic donors are like blood-drive donors. They have no connection with a recipient but want to donate a kidney to help someone in need. We can help them fulfill their wish by entering them into the Paired Exchange Program.

For more information about kidney transplant, read the What Every Patient Needs to Know brochure from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Christiana Care Kidney Transplant Program

Medical Arts Pavilion 2,
Suite 2224
4735 Ogletown-Stanton Road
Newark DE 19713 directions

18335 Coastal Highway
Lewes, DE 19958 directions

Delaware Health Sciences Alliance CarePages Magnet recognition for excellence in nursing

Christiana Care is a private not-for-profit regional health care system and relies in part on the generosity of individuals, foundations and corporations to fulfill its mission. To learn more about how you can support our mission, please visit

Christiana Care Health System PO Box 1668, Wilmington, DE 19899 800-693-CARE