What Is Kidney Transplantation?

Kidney Transplantation

Receiving or donating a kidney is a life‐changing experience. At Northwestern Medicine Organ Transplant Center, we support you every step of the way — with leading clinical research, innovation and compassionate care.

Our team understands the difference a transplant can make. That is why we work hard to offer new approaches to immunosuppression, which helps prevent your body from rejecting transplanted organs, including:

  • Clinical trials in immune tolerance
  • State‐of‐the‐art genomic and proteomic immune monitoring
  • Health services and outcomes research

Why Choose Northwestern Medicine for Your Kidney Transplant

The Organ Transplant Center is the longest continual provider of organ transplantation in Chicago, Illinois. Since the program began in 1964, we have performed about 7,000 kidney transplants.

In 2023, we performed 347 kidney transplants, the most of any hospital in Illinois. We have performed the 7th most kidney transplants in the U.S. in 2023, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing

To make an appointment at the Organ Transplant Center, please call 312.695.0828 (TTY: 711).

Northwestern Medicine Living Donor Program

Northwestern Medicine has the largest living donor kidney transplant program in Illinois and one of the largest programs in the country. Our team performed 91 living donor kidney transplants in 2023 and more than 500 over the last five years.

Benefits of receiving a kidney from a living donor include:

  • No waiting period, allowing you to avoid dialysis or stop it earlier.
  • Surgeries can be scheduled at a convenient time for the donor and recipient.
  • A kidney from a living donor often works sooner than a kidney from a deceased person and typically lasts longer.

The Northwestern Medicine Hispanic Kidney Transplant Program

We recognize the importance of a culturally sensitive approach. That's why we offer the Northwestern Medicine Hispanic Transplant Program; it offers transplant care to people who prefer to speak Spanish.

The program includes a bilingual transplant team that includes:

  • Surgeons
  • A social worker
  • A transplant nurse coordinator
  • A financial coordinator
  • Other support staff

Led by Juan Carlos Caicedo, MD, we offer education about transplants that is presented in Spanish. This educational clinic in downtown Chicago.

Kidney Care Close to Home

In addition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago, you can receive care at any of our seven kidney transplant outreach clinics, including:

Our teams can see in outreach clinics if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have complex kidney disease and need a consultation or second opinion.
  • You are a potential kidney transplant candidate.
  • You are on the Northwestern Memorial Hospital kidney transplant waiting list.

Related Resources



  • American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP): AAKP helps kidney patients and their families manage the emotional and social impact of kidney disease.
  • American Kidney Fund: This fund provides direct financial assistance to kidney patients in need and education for those with and at risk for kidney disease.
  • Atlas of Diseases of the Kidney: The online edition from ISN Informatics Commission and NKF Cyber‐Nephrology provides information on kidney disease, treatment and research, including books and PowerPoint presentations.
  • Coalition on DonationThis organization promotes and provides education about organ donation.
  • Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network: This nonprofit works with hospitals and donor families in the northern three‐fourths of Illinois and northwest Indiana. It focuses on recovery of organs and tissue for medical transplantation in the service area, as well as for professional and public education on organ and tissue donation.
  • Home Dialysis Central: Home Dialysis Central educates kidney patients about home dialysis.
  • Kidney School: This interactive, web‐based learning program is designed to help people learn about kidney disease and its treatments, so they can take a more active role in their care.
  • Life OptionsThis program of research, research‐based education, and outreach helps people live long and well with kidney disease.
  • MedlinePlus: This is a trusted source that covers all aspects of organ donation and provides easy access to medical journal articles, extensive information about drugs, an illustrated medical encyclopedia, interactive patient tutorials, and the latest health news.
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Part of the National Institutes of Health, this organization is involved in kidney disease research and treatment options.
  • National Kidney Foundation (NKF): This foundation has 50 affiliates dedicated to providing prevention programs, educational services, and materials for kidney patients, transplant recipients, and communities. NKF Affiliates: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio
  • National Organ and Tissue Donation InitiativeThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is building a national community of organ sharing to ease the critical shortage of organ and tissue donors.
  • Nephron Information Center: This site includes information and educational links about kidney disease.
  • Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN): OPTN is a unique public‐private partnership that links all of the professionals involved in the donation and transplantation system. Its goals are to increase the supply of donated organs available for transplantation and the effectiveness and efficiency of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation (PKD): PKD Foundation’s mission is to promote research to find a cure for PKD, and improve the care and treatment of those it affects.
  • The Renal Network 9/10: This network empowers optimal wellness for renal disease patients. 
  • Transplant Living: This is the United Network for Organ Sharing patient education site for all transplant patients.
  • TransWeb: TransWeb’s mission is to offer information about donation and transplantation to the general public. It promotes organ donation and provides transplant families with information specifically about transplant issues.
  • United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS): Through the UNOS Organ Center, organ donors are matched to waiting recipients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Through its policies, UNOS ensures that all patients have a fair chance at receiving the organ they need—regardless of age, sex, race, lifestyle, religion, or financial or social status. UNOS members include every transplant program, organ procurement organization, and tissue typing laboratory in the United States.
  • U.S. Transplant—Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR)The SRTR supports the ongoing evaluation of the scientific and clinical status of solid organ transplantation in the United States.
  • Worldwide Kidney Disease CommunityThis online resource brings together people with kidney disease, in a worldwide community dedicated to improving patient quality of life.

Support groups

The following associations offer support groups to help patients and their families through transplantation:


In the spirit of keeping you well-informed, some of the physician(s) and/or individual(s) identified are neither agents nor employees of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare or any of its affiliate organizations. They have selected our facilities as places where they want to treat and care for their private patients.