Kidney Transplant Institute

surgeonsProgram Summary

The George Washington University Hospital is seeking a Certificate of Need from the District of Columbia State Health Planning and Development Agency (SHPDA) to develop a kidney and pancreas transplant program. GW Hospital’s decision to enter into this field reflects the hospital’s desire to provide comprehensive care to patients with chronic renal disease including end-stage renal disease.

As an academic medical center, GW Hospital is uniquely positioned to provide the comprehensive care and specialty services required to care for transplant surgery patients. The establishment of the GW Kidney Transplant Institute will establish GW as a leader among Academic Medical Centers, providing medical students, residents and fellows.


To provide transplantation, transplantable organs are needed. Sources are deceased donors and living donors. There is a national need for donors. Today, only four percent of our nation’s hospitals provide transplant services.

In the District of Columbia, patients are waiting for kidney transplants. In fact, many patients are leaving the Washington, DC area, away from their families and support systems.

Facts / Wait Lists

According to Transplant Management Group, within the GW Hospital area, there are 1,868 dialysis patients in the District of Columbia, 1,119 in Northern Virginia and 75 in Montgomery and Prince George’s County, MD. There are 48 active members on the GW Hospital kidney transplant waiting list.

According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network:

  • About 98 percent of people who receive a living-donor kidney transplant live for at least one year after their transplant surgery. About 90 percent live for at least five years.
  • About 94 percent of people who receive a deceased-donor kidney transplant live for at least one year after their transplant surgery. About 82 percent live for at least five years.

Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension

GW Hospital’s Renal Inpatient Service provides both primary and consultative services to patients with acute and chronic renal disease, hypertension, fluid and electrolyte disorders, and autoimmune illnesses. The inpatient service will share responsibility with the surgical service for the management of renal transplant patients.

The GW Hospital’s acute dialysis unit is utilized for hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and therapeutic plasmapheresis. In hemodynamically unstable patients, the renal service offers acute renal replacement therapies such as continuous arteriovenous hemofiltration (CAVH), continuous veno-venous hemofiltration (CVVH) and slow extended hemodialysis (SLED).

The division of renal disease and hypertension offers peritoneal dialysis and in-center daytime and nocturnal hemodialysis for patients in the DC, Virginia and Maryland area. A large number of patients are being followed at The George Washington University Hospital’s Medical Faculty Associates outpatient care center. A multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, social workers and dieticians works closely to provide and care for this patient population.

Academic Medicine / Educational Mission

The GW Division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension has a long tradition of research in the progression of renal disease, renal replacement therapy and hypertension. Some of these research programs include:

  • Progression of chronic kidney disease
  • Inflammation in chronic kidney disease
  • Genetics of kidney disease
  • Hypertension
  • Outcome studies in patients with end-stage renal disease
  • Renal replacement therapies
  • Peritoneal dialysis
  • Insulin resistance and dietary phytoestrogens research

Program Launch

In anticipation of starting up the program, GW Hospital will conduct a national search to appoint a Surgical Director of the Transplant Surgery (co-director). The Director will work with hospital administration and the medical staff to position the program to achieve and provide the highest quality care and patient outcomes. The hospital will embark on all regulatory and process approvals.

About Kidney Transplants

A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure to place a functioning kidney from a donor into a person whose kidneys no longer function properly.

A kidney transplant is used to treat end-stage kidney disease, a condition in which a person’s kidneys can function at only a fraction of normal capacity and not be able to meet the metabolic and excretory needs of the individual. People with end-stage kidney disease need either artificial blood filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

A person’s kidneys remove excess fluid and waste from their blood. When a person’s kidneys lose their filtering ability, dangerous levels of fluid and waste accumulate in the body — a condition known as kidney failure. A kidney transplant is the best and preferred treatment for end-stage kidney disease. Only one donated kidney is needed to replace two failed kidneys, making living-donor kidney transplantation an option. If a compatible living donor isn't available for a kidney transplant, a person’s name may be placed on a kidney transplant waiting list to receive a kidney from a deceased donor. The average wait for a donor kidney is three to five years depending on the blood type.

A kidney donor can be living or deceased, related or unrelated to the person. A person’s health care team will consider several factors, including blood and tissue types, when evaluating whether a living donor will be a good match. Family members are often the most likely to be compatible kidney donors. Many people undergo successful transplants with kidneys donated from people who are not related to them. If a compatible living donor isn't available, a person’s name will be placed on a waiting list for a deceased-donor kidney. Because there are fewer available kidneys than there are people waiting for a transplant, the waiting list throughout Washington, DC continues to grow. The waiting time for a deceased donor kidney can be a year or longer.

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Barry Wolfman
Chief Executive Officer

Kimberly Russo
Chief Operating Officer

Richard Davis
Chief Financial Officer

Gary Little, MD
Medical Director

Jennifer Kirby, RN
Chief Nursing Officer

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Jeffrey S. Akman, MD
Interim Vice President and Dean, School of Medicine and Health Sciences

Alan Wasserman, MD
Chair, School of Medicine

Dominic Raj, MD
Director, Division of Renal Disease and Hypertension

Anton Sidawy, MD
Chairman, Department of Surgery

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