The NYU Langone Transplant Institute has set new milestones for kidney transplants in the greater New York City region and the nation. The institute team transplanted more kidneys than any other center in New York State and ranks highest in the nation for survival after transplant surgery. It is also the top center on the East Coast for transplanting lifesaving kidneys faster to people on the waiting list.
“Over the past several years, we have built a kidney transplant program that is saving lives and helping people live longer with a better quality of life,” says Nicole M. Ali, MD, medical director of the kidney and pancreas transplant programs at the Transplant Institute. “Our program has grown exponentially thanks to smart investments in talent, state-of-the-art technology, and a culture dedicated to quality and patient safety. Our biggest asset is our incredibly dedicated multidisciplinary team.”
NYU Langone performed 311 kidney transplants in 2021—the highest kidney transplant volume recorded in New York State and the second highest in the Northeast region, according to data from the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), which includes all transplants performed in the United States dating back to 1988.
Along with this historic growth, NYU Langone achieved top rankings in both time-to-transplant and graft survival. New data released in January 2022 by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) ranked NYU Langone the top program in the nation for kidney survival one year after transplant. People who need a kidney transplant spend less time on the waiting list at NYU Langone than at any other hospital on the nation’s East Coast, according to SRTR data. SRTR data are adjusted based on observed outcomes versus expected outcomes, meaning patients with higher risk had better results at NYU Langone.
“What the Transplant Institute team has been able to accomplish is remarkable,” says Robert Montgomery, MD, DPhil, the H. Leon Pachter, MD, Professor of Surgery, chair of the Department of Surgery at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and director of the Transplant Institute. “We have truly built a world-class comprehensive team of transplant specialists who are working tirelessly to get our patients transplanted as fast as possible with the best results in order to greatly reduce the risk of dying while waiting.”
There were several factors that went into reaching these milestones, including a pivotal policy change by OPTN to allow kidney and pancreas offers for candidates listed at transplant hospitals within a 250-mile radius of the donor hospital. Before this change, implemented in December 2020, donation service area boundaries were inconsistently drawn, leading to disparities in timely access to deceased donor kidney transplants.
Additionally, the Transplant Institute introduced methods that allow it to draw kidneys from around the country and place them in recipients that will benefit the most from them. NYU Langone leads the way in living donor transplants, paired kidney transplant, and treating patients ahead of transplant so they can safely accept an organ from an incompatible donor.
“Our surgical and medical teams go the extra mile to give every kidney an opportunity to be transplanted. We thoroughly evaluate every organ, which sometimes means examining the organ and accepting complex anatomy that other centers decline,” says Zoe A. Stewart Lewis, MD, PhD, surgical director of the kidney and pancreas transplant programs and director of quality at the Transplant Institute. “Our team’s willingness to take the extra steps to find the right recipient for each kidney has allowed dozens of patients and their families to be freed from the burden of chronic dialysis.”