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.
Learn more about our program in the video below.
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.
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.