Kidney Transplant Program

One of the most successful programs of its kind in the United States, the Kidney Transplant Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) began with the world’s first successful human organ transplant (a kidney transplanted from one identical twin to another), performed by Dr. Joseph Murray in 1954. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Murray performed the first successfully treated living non-identical twin and deceased donor transplants. For his pioneering work in this field, Dr. Murray was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1990.

Since that first successful transplant, our team has performed over 2,700 kidney transplants and continues to advance the field of transplantation to help more patients lead healthy and productive lives. Our team, which includes expert transplant surgeons, nephrologists, transplant nurses, social workers, and nutritionists, delivers highly compassionate, coordinated, and patient-centered care, from initial evaluation through post-transplant care.

Our Living Donor Center is dedicated to relatives, friends, and altruistic donors who are providing a healthy kidney to a loved one or someone else in need of a life-saving kidney transplant. Living donors present the best opportunity for long-term transplant success. Studies have shown that the quality of kidneys from living donors is superior compared to kidneys from deceased donors. In addition, patients may remain on a wait list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor for many months or years due to the shortage of suitable organs. Living donor kidney transplants also can be performed at a time that is ideal for both the donor and the recipient.

Cornerstones of our Program’s success include:

  • State-of-the-art treatment for sensitized patients (those with antibodies that can cause rejection) and difficult-to-treat kidney conditions, including matching patients in some of the most successful paired kidney exchange programs;
  • Minimally-invasive surgical techniques for living kidney donors, designed to shorten hospital stays and speed recovery (compared with traditional approaches).
  • Leading-edge research studies, including new ways to individualize immunosuppression for recipients and improve donor organ quality, and participating in COIIN, a multi-center study aimed at improving the percentage of deceased donor kidneys that are transplanted;
  • Patient-centered approach, including a one-day evaluation clinic for qualified patients and multiple opportunities to engage with the team for education and support.


For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

About BWH