Renal transplant: Also called a kidney transplant. Replacement of a diseased, damaged, or missing kidney with a donor kidney.
Patients with end-stage renal failure are candidates for transplantation. A successful transplant frees the patient from dialysis and provides the kidney's other metabolic functions.
The survival rate a year after a transplant from a living related donor is over 95%. The survival rate a year after a transplant from a cadaver is about 90%. The principal problems in kidney transplantation involve avoiding rejection of the transplanted kidney by the recipient's immune system.
The first kidney transplant was done in Boston by surgeon Joseph E. Murray in 1954. (This was the first successful human organ transplant.) Murray removed a kidney from Ronald Herrick and transplanted it to his identical twin, Richard Herrick (and thereby skirted the immunologic problems). In 1990, Murray shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with E. Donnall Thomas "for their discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease."