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Kidney Transplants at Addenbrooke's Hospital


For many patients a transplant gives an opportunity for the return to a normal lifestyle. It can offer release from dialysis and from dietary and fluid restrictions. However it should be borne in mind that not all patients are medically suited to receive a transplant.




 The Success of Transplantation


Figures from UK Transplant show that currently, around 93% of adult kidney transplants are working after one year. Results continue to improve, as shown by the fact that 75% of adult kidney transplants now last over 10 years.


UK Transplant, which is a special Health Authority within the NHS, oversees and monitors the whole process nationally. It ensures that donated organs are matched and allocated in a fair and unbiased way.


Organ rejection is always a factor in transplantation and immense efforts are continuously put into the search for improved anti-rejection drugs. Much of this work takes place in Cambridge and AKPA assists with the funding of some of this important research.




 Organ donation


Kidneys may be donated from one of two sources: either after death or from a living donor. In either case there are very thorough and careful procedures to be gone through.


Donation after death

When someone has suffered severe and irreversible damage to the brain, organ donation may be possible. If death is confirmed by a series of well established tests performed at the bedside by two senior doctors who are not part of the transplant team, or if death is the expected outcome, families are given the opportunity to discuss the option of organ donation with a member of the Transplant Coordinator Team. This decision is often easier for families to make if the wishes of their relative have been made known in advance. One way for this to happen is through the NHS Organ Donor Register (Organ Donor Line number - 0300 123 23 23).


Living donors

A kidney may be successfully transplanted from a living person (usually, but not necessarily a close relative such as a parent, brother, sister or partner). The pros and cons are discussed with the family at length and the process of preparation for the donor takes several months. The donor is never put under pressure and has many medical checks to ensure he/she is fit, and that his/her kidney is a close match for the recipient. Emotional and psychological support are always available.


For more information, please read the PDF format booklet Donor and Recipient Perspectives, which was prepared by a working party including Professor J Andrew Bradley, PhD FRCS FMed Sci, Professor of Surgery, University of Cambridge and Honorary Consultant Transplant Surgeon at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.




 The Future


There is a worldwide shortage of organ donors and a consequent need to increase the number of kidneys donated.


In July 2000 UK Transplant was given the additional aim of increasing organ donation rates. The public and media still need to be better informed about transplantation. Organisations such as AKPA work hard to increase awareness and understanding in the public and by encouraging people to add their names to the national Organ Donor Register.




 Transplant Coordinators


Transplant Coordinators play a vital part in ensuring that organ donation and transplantation go as well as possible. There are Donor and Recipient Transplant Coordinators.


The main role of the Donor Coordinator is to ensure families are given an informed choice when considering organ donation, that they are guided through the process of donation, and the intentions of the deceased are carried out. This involves liaising with other health professionals such as surgeons and with recipient centres. The Coordinator supports both family and staff and will continue to do so post-donation for as long as is needed.


Recipient Coordinators maintain the database of patients waiting for an organ from a deceased donor. Patients are assessed annually or six-monthly for fitness to receive a transplant. Sometimes patients are advised that having a transplant may not be the best treatment for them, so they do not join the transplant list. Living Donor Recipient Coordinators are involved in preparing, both medically and psychologically, family and friends, husbands and wives for living donation. Addenbrooke’s Coordinators liaise with other eastern region Recipient Coordinators because patients from hospitals throughout the region have their transplant operations at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.


The medical staff and coordinator attend pre-transplant clinics in the referring hospitals so that patients can be seen at their own hospital. Once the patient is stable after a transplant, usually within a few months, outpatient care is transferred back to the patient’s hospital. The Recipient Coordinator continues to see newly transplanted patients in weekly follow-up clinics.


Both Recipient and Donor Coordinators also play very active roles in professional and public education, to raise awareness of Organ and Tissue Donation.




 Transplant Games


The Transplant Games aim to:

• encourage public awareness of organ donation

• encourage transplant patients to live life to the full

• give thanks to organ donor families


Organised under the auspices of the Transplant Sport UK (TSUK), the Games were the brainchild of Professor Maurice Slapak, a renal transplant surgeon. They were first held in 1978 as a one-day event; their success has since seen them expand into a four-day event with hundreds of participants.


The Games include bowls, volleyball, table tennis and darts as well as the usual athletic events. They demonstrate the success of transplantation and illustrate the participants’ ability to live an active life. The games would not be possible without the generosity of the donors and their families.


AKPA supports individual kidney transplant patients who take part in the games as part of Addenbrooke’s team by giving grants towards travel and accommodation costs.




 Further Information Online


Cambridge Transplant Unit

Ward G5 (the Transplant Ward)


Transplant Sport UK

British Transplant Games

Addenbrooke's Transplant Games Team









The AKPA website is provided by Addenbrooke's Kidney Patients for Addenbrooke's Kidney Patients and is for information purposes only. It should not be a substitute for professional medical advice,

examination, diagnosis or treatment. Do not disregard or delay seeking medical advice based on information on this site. If you have concerns, always seek the advice of one of the Renal Team

at Addenbrooke's before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment. Medical information and the staff in the Renal Department change occasionally and while AKPA make

efforts to continually update the content on the site, some information may be out of date. To advise us of incorrect information, please email


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