Kidney Transplantation Program

Lurie Children’s (at that time Children’s Memorial Hospital) performed Illinois’ first kidney transplant in a child in 1964. Our Pediatric Kidney Transplantation Program now ranks among the nation’s top kidney transplant programs dedicated to children.

The Lurie Children​’s Difference

We provide family-centered care, which means the entire family is involved in the patient’s treatment plan. We use a multidisciplinary team to plan your child’s treatment so that your child gets the most comprehensive care possible. Our team members are from various healthcare specialties, and they bring a variety of experiences to the program. They will all consider your child’s treatment and use their combined perspectives to create a holistic care plan that focuses on the whole person.

We focus on performing transplants as early as possible. About 30% of our kidney (renal) transplants are preemptive. Preemptive kidney transplant, which means doing a transplant before the patient becomes very ill and goes on kidney dialysis, has a number of benefits. It spares children the need for costly and time-consuming dialysis treatments, and it may lead to a quicker recovery after transplantation.

Preemptive transplants often need living donors, so we offer new solutions to the organ shortage. One option is donation from an unrelated donor (such as altruistic or paired kidney donation). Another choice is kidney desensitization, a process before and after transplant that removes harmful antibodies from the blood. This allows patients to receive a kidney that they otherwise would reject.

Thanks to our partnership with the Kidney Transplantation Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, we have easy access to services that adult living donors need. It also helps ease teen patients’ transition to adult care.

We actively conduct clinical and laboratory research to find new ways to help children who receive a kidney transplant. Lurie Children’s was the first in the Midwest to use a “prednisone-free protocol” for immune suppression after transplant to prevent organ rejection. By reducing the patient’s exposure to corticosteroids, this treatment lowers the risk of side effects that come with long-term steroid use, such as stunted growth and broken bones due to osteoporosis.

Our Specialists

Our transplant team includes:

Our team members also work closely with healthcare providers in many other fields to address all of your child’s needs.

The program’s medical director is Amy Bobrowski, MD, a board-certified pediatric nephrologist. Surgical director Riccardo Superina, MD, is a board-certified surgeon specializing in pediatric transplantation. Craig Langman, MD, head of the Division of Kidney Diseases, helps detect and treat complex kidney problems needing a transplant.

What to Expect

Lurie Children’s offers the full range of kidney transplant options, including:

  • Living donor kidney transplant
  • Deceased donor kidney transplant
  • A successful track record in performing kidney transplant in patients who have had other organ transplants
  • Dual organ transplant simultaneously (such as kidney and liver)

Your child’s first visit may include:

  • A physical exam and a review of their health history
  • A psychosocial (mental and emotional health) assessment
  • Imaging and lab tests as needed
  • A financial needs assessment

Appointments

If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®).

 

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