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Kidney Transplants


"The Most Beautiful Gift" – a kidney transplant story

A kidney transplant was the best treatment option for Loveland, Colorado teacher Melanie Litt, then in stage 5 renal failure from a fast-moving kidney disease.

Her son Landon quickly volunteered for testing. He was found to be a good donor match and soon joined his mom in the organ transplantation rooms of University of Colorado Hospital.

Two months after their surgeries, both Melanie and Landon are doing fine.

"It's the most beautiful gift I could ever have gotten from my son," says Melanie.

Why Choose University of Colorado Hospital for Your Kidney Transplant?

At University of Colorado Hospital, we began performing kidney transplants in the early 1960s. Our Kidney Transplant Program was reinvigorated in 1988 by Laurence Chan, M.D., Ph.D and Igal Kam, M.D.

Throughout the years, we have made significant technological advancements that have greatly increased the chances for kidney transplant patients to live normal lives.

  • Overall patient survival rate three years after transplantation is nearly 96 percent.
  • In 1999, our team began performing laparoscopic donor surgeries resulting in a shorter hospital stay, less pain and faster recovery for living kidney donors.
  • More than 40 percent of all kidney transplant recipients at University of Colorado Hospital receive their organ from a living donor.
  • An entire floor at University of Colorado Hospital is dedicated to transplant patients. Our transplant patients receive medical care by a team of experts who are specifically trained to address transplant patients’ special needs.

About Kidney Transplants

There are two types of kidney transplants. A deceased-donor transplant uses the kidney of someone who has recently passed away. This is the most common type of kidney transplant.

Living-donor transplants are the second type. As its name indicates, the person who is donating his or her kidney is alive. It is usually a relative or close friend who donates a portion of his/her kidney to the person in need of the transplant.

A small number people who are brittle, type 1 diabetics may need a pancreas transplant in addition to their kidney transplant. This is a combined operation that is always done with a deceased donor.

Patient Education

The transition from chronic illness to having a healthy transplanted kidney calls for many psychological and social lifestyle changes. It is important for you to understand both the Kidney Transplant Process and how to stay healthy after the transplant.

Support Group Information

The group meets quarterly, but times and places may vary. For more information, please contact Laurie Leder, clinical social worker for the Kidney Transplant program, at (720) 848-2268.

Getting a Second Opinion

A kidney transplant is a major surgery. It is important to feel comfortable with both your doctors and the staff, as you will spend much time with them. University of Colorado Hospital is happy to offer a second opinion and to work with you if you choose to come to our hospital for your surgery.

Please contact the Kidney Transplant department at (720) 848-2237 to schedule your first appointment.

Additional Kidney Transplant Resources


About kidney/pancreas transplants

Your pancreas is a small, spongy organ about 6 inches long that is connected to your intestine.

Your pancreas has two jobs:  it helps with digestion, and it makes insulin to control the amount of sugar in your blood.

If you have type 1 diabetes, meaning your pancreas is not producing insulin, taking insulin is typically the treatment.  A pancreas transplant is another possible treatment for type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes.

The goal for the patient who undergoes a pancreas transplant is to become “insulin independent.” This means that you will no longer have to take insulin, monitor your blood sugar levels, or have a restricted diet.

However, you will need to take life-long medications to prevent your body from rejecting the pancreas transplant. Because of this, pancreas transplants are typically done for type 1 diabetics who had, or need, a kidney transplant, because people with a kidney transplant will already need to take the anti-rejection drugs.

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