Kidney Transplants | UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

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Organ Transplants at Iowa Methodist Transplant Center

Kidney Transplant

The Commitment

Many aspects of life are affected by a transplant, including housing, relationships, income and employment. The Transplant Center is committed to supporting patients and their families as they move through all phases of the kidney transplant process.

What is a Kidney Transplant?

A kidney transplant is when someone suffering from kidney failure receives a new kidney from a healthy person, living or deceased. Living donors are possible with a kidney donation because you only need one kidney to clean your blood properly.

  • Donors can be spouses, relatives, friends or complete strangers. 
  • Kidneys from a living donor have a higher success rate than those from a deceased donor.
  • Living donors and transplant patients can work together to schedule a transplant for a time that's good for everyone. Transplant patients who are using deceased donors have to wait until a kidney becomes available.

How does a kidney transplant compare to dialysis treatment?

A kidney transplant is one treatment option for patients with kidney failure. A kidney transplant is intended to improve the quality of life for patients who have been diagnosed with end stage renal disease. After a kidney transplant, many patients are able to lead a more normal life - returning to work, increasing physical activity and becoming "free" of the restrictions of renal disease (time, diet and fluid). Additionally, research has shown that those patients who receive a kidney transplant have a longer life expectancy than those who remain on dialysis.

How successful are kidney transplants?

A kidney transplant from a living donor has a success rate of approximately 95 percent and is likely to function for 12-20 years.

A kidney transplant from a deceased donor has a success rate of approximately 85-90 percent and is likely to last 8-12 years.

Patients and Families Living Outside the Greater Des Moines Area

At any stage during the transplant process, out-of-town patients and their families will be required to temporarily stay in Des Moines to be close to the Transplant Center and to keep in touch with the transplant team. The expectation is out-of-state patients stay at least 4 weeks after the kidney transplant.

Please see our Hospitality Guide for information on directions, local hotels, restaurants, and family-friendly attractions.

Financial and Insurance Information

Many insurance companies do cover organ transplantation. Each kidney transplant candidate needs to work closely with our staff and their insurance company to determine health insurance benefits. Our financial counselor meets with each patient and family to help resolve these complicated financial and insurance issues.