Pediatric Kidney Transplant

This information is useful for children
sad child
Why Yale Medicine?
  • Yale Medicine has one of the largest pediatric transplant programs in the region.
  • Children with congenital defects that affect multiple organs have access to Yale Medicine’s combined kidney and liver transplant program.
  • Our adult and pediatric programs share a transplant nephrologist, who is involved in the treatment and post-surgical care of every patient.

When a child has end-stage kidney (renal) disease, called kidney failure, a transplant may be the most effective treatment. Most kidney transplants in children are successful, and kids can go on to enjoy normal, healthy lives. 

At Yale Medicine, our experts are highly skilled and sensitive to the unique needs of children and their families during this difficult time. Our highly skilled pediatric surgeons, nephrologists, social workers and dietitians all work together as a team. And we have the added benefit of communicating with our adult transplant program when needed. 

The most common causes of pediatric kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease, are birth defects and genetic conditions. “For example, children can be born with kidneys that didn’t develop right or had a blockage along the way and developed an infection,” says Olivera Couloures, MD, a Yale Medicine pediatric nephrologist and an assistant professor of pediatrics (nephrology) at Yale School of Medicine.

Less commonly, older children and teenagers may develop kidney disease as a result of an infection, a physical trauma or a systemic condition such as lupus or diabetes. 

Most pediatric kidney transplant recipients are teenagers, but the surgery can be done on children as young as a year old and as small as 22 pounds. Babies who are below those benchmarks may be considered for transplants case by case, or they may receive kidney dialysis until they grow a bit more.

Clinical Trials

New treatments for many conditions are tested in clinical trials, which ultimately bring lifesaving new drugs and devices to the patients who need them most. By participating in a clinical trial, you may get access to the most advanced treatments for your condition, and help determine their benefits for future patients.