An Introduction to the Kidney Transplantation Program

The miracle of kidney transplantation provides an individual suffering from end-stage kidney failure, or renal failure, the opportunity for a healthier life. According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are close to 100,000 people on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. It is the most common type of solid organ transplant surgery, and also has the esteemed reputation of being the first successful transplant ever performed on a human being.

In the 1950s, kidney transplantation became a viable option for end-stage kidney failure. In 1970, doctors performed the first kidney transplant at St. Vincent Medical Center. In 1971, doctors Robert Mendez and Rafael Mendez, identical twins, began what has become a long and successful career in kidney transplantation at St. Vincent Medical Center. Incredibly, their first transplant surgery was between identical twins.

The Multi-Organ Transplant Center performs both cadaveric and living donor kidney transplantation. Our medical team, headed by Dr. Robert Naraghi, is one of the best in the world. For patients suffering from end-stage kidney failure, kidney transplantation can be a treatment choice. It is generally made after careful evaluation, consideration and discussion between patients, families, their support and their physicians.

When making the choice to undergo kidney transplantation, you should know the facts. A new kidney will most likely mean a longer, healthier life. It also means life-long medical visits and daily medicine regimens to keep the patient’s body from rejecting the new organ. This commitment extends to the patient’s family, friends, personal care and physicians. It is a commitment worth making, if the patient truly chooses to make a commitment for life.

Sophisticated reprocessing machines, the kidneys are bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist, located near the middle of the back, just below the rib cage. Everyday, the kidneys play a major part in maintaining the body’s internal environment, processing about 200 quarts of waste products and extra water, which are excreted as urine.

The kidneys:


  • monitor blood volume
  • filter the blood and form urine
  • regulate water, electrolyte and acid base balance
  • produce and metabolize some hormones
  • balance the amount of calcium, sodium and potassium present in blood
  • produce hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • stimulate the production of energy-rich red blood cells


At rest, an estimated 20% of blood output from the heart flows through the kidneys where it is filtered and reconditioned.

When the kidney’s fail, it is known as renal failure.