Section: Saint Barnabas Medical Center News

Saint Barnabas Medical Center Surpasses All-Time Kidney Transplant Record For Second Consecutive Year


Leading the Northeast, Saint Barnabas Medical Center
performed 304 of these procedures last year.

Surgeons from the Renal and Pancreas Division at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, from left, Samantha Aitchison, MD, Transplant Surgeon; Stuart R. Geffner, MD, Director, Transplant Surgery; and Harry Sun, MD, Associate Director, Transplant Surgery.

For the second straight year, The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division at Saint Barnabas Medical Center has broken its all-time record for kidney transplants performed in one year. During 2016, the team completed 304 kidney transplants – topping its previous record of 301 set in 2015.

“This significant achievement once again places us among the top five transplant programs in the country in volume, and tops in the Northeast,” states Shamkant Mulgaonkar, MD, Chief, Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division, adding that Saint Barnabas surgeons Stuart Geffner, MD, and Harry Sun, MD, are among the nation’s most experienced transplant surgeons. “It is tremendously gratifying to help a lot of people avoid or get off dialysis and achieve a higher quality of life.”

Kidney disease is on a frightening rise. Among adults age 60 and older, it has more than doubled in the United States in the past 15 years. Experts predict that nearly 60 percent of Americans will develop kidney disease at some time—that’s higher than the lifetime risk of diabetes, heart attack or invasive cancer.

There are several reasons why the incidence of kidney disease is rising. It’s often a byproduct of obesity and diabetes, and there’s an epidemic of each. These conditions can raise blood pressure and put overwhelming stress on the organs. In addition, the general population is getting older and living longer; aging itself is a risk factor for kidney disease.

When coupled with the severe shortage of donor organs, these facts mean that most patients must wait an average of five years for a deceased-donor kidney. However, Saint Barnabas helps patients obtain organs from living donors—family members, friends and anonymous altruists— much, much sooner.

“We started our Living Donor Kidney Transplant Institute to focus on promoting living donation through a highly specialized approach,” Dr. Mulgaonkar says. “That has prompted a huge change. In 2016, 147 of our 304 transplanted kidneys came from living donors making us one of the largest living donor programs in the United States.”

The Division has a dedicated team of eight transplant physicians, three transplant surgeons, a transplant urologist and a large team of transplant coordinators, social workers, a transplant pharmacist and dietitians. In addition, the Division conducts extensive research and participates in trials for new medications and surgical techniques. As a result of this and other research, transplant success rates have improved dramatically. Now almost 98 percent of living-donor kidneys survive the first year and nearly 90 percent survive five years, says Dr. Mulgaonkar

In 2017, Saint Barnabas will continue to focus on growing the living-donor program even more. “We teach patients how to approach finding a living donor—you can’t just go ask someone to give you a kidney,” says Dr. Mulgaonkar. “We give them tools to have that conversation with family and friends.” He stresses that those who don’t have a compatible donor match may be eligible for exchange programs that link them with other candidates. “Even if you think you have no one who is compatible, we can help,” he says.

To learn more about kidney transplants or becoming a donor, please visit the Renal and Pancreas Transplant Division webpage or call 1.888.409.4707.

Categories: In the News,Kidney,Press Releases,Recent News