Duke has been a pioneer in organ transplantation since 1965, when we established one of the nation’s first kidney transplant programs. Since then, our delivery of expert care to hundreds of people each year and our ability to perform transplant procedures not offered by other centers has made us one of the top transplant centers in the U.S. Our wait times are consistently some of the shortest, and our survival rates are among the best in the United States.
Transplant surgery is performed at Duke University Hospital. Duke clinics offer care before and after transplant.
More Organs to More People Who Need Them
Shorter Wait Times
Our transplant programs are known for their short wait times. For instance, the median wait time on our lung transplant list is about 15 days, compared with 94 days nationwide. We pride ourselves on being resourceful and using as many high-quality donor organs as possible. That means you may get a transplant much faster than you would elsewhere.
Expanded Donor Pools
We use the latest advances in transplant medicine to expand the pool of available organs, including aggressive organ recovery efforts and innovative organ preservation strategies. For example, Duke is one of a few centers in the U.S. using a process known as Donation after Cardiac Death for heart transplants. When used with a device that keeps the heart beating and viable, this advance may expand the heart donor pool by up to 30 percent.
We often accept people seeking an organ transplant who may be older, at higher-than-average risk, need multiple organ transplants, or have difficult-to-match antibodies. If you’ve been turned down by another transplant program, we may be able to help.
If you are interested in making an appointment for an evaluation, please ask your doctor to submit a referral.
Hepatitis C Organs
We consider accepting organs from donors with hepatitis C. Because modern hepatitis C medications are so effective, have few side effects, and don’t interact with immune medicines that are required for transplant recipients, these organs can help save lives instead of being discarded.
The HOPE Act made it possible for HIV-positive donors to offer their organs to HIV-positive recipients. Duke is the only transplant center in North Carolina, and one of a handful in the nation, currently approved to perform HOPE Act living donor kidney and liver transplants. In 2019, our kidney transplant surgeons performed the first live kidney donation under the HOPE Act in North Carolina and the Southeast region and the second in the United States.
Active Living Donor Programs
We offer living donor programs for kidney and liver transplants, which can lengthen organ life, reduce wait times, and result in faster recovery and fewer complications after surgery.
Second Largest Lung Transplant Program
Duke's lung transplant program is the second largest in the U.S. based on the number of transplants performed, with some of the shortest waitlist times in the nation.
Top-Ranked Liver Transplant Center
Duke's adult liver transplant program is ranked as one of the four best in the U.S. for getting a deceased-donor transplant faster and for one-year liver survival. We maintain excellent outcomes for our patients despite the fact that we place very sick patients on the liver transplant waitlist. Median time to transplant for people on Duke’s waitlist was 116 days, compared with 325 days nationally.
High Ranking for Heart Transplant Program
Our heart transplant program is one of the nation’s busiest; independent data show we rank among the top five programs for the number of transplants performed each year. And we have some of the shortest wait times in the region.
Excellent Kidney Transplant Outcomes
The Duke kidney transplant program has been performing kidney transplants for nearly 50 years. It is one of the highest volume programs in North Carolina. Our outcomes are consistently excellent -- a notable accomplishment considering that we often perform transplants for people who have multiple, complex medical problems.
Our doctors are leaders in transplantation research, which gives you access to best practices and new therapies through our transplant programs and clinical research.
Performing Rare Transplants
Multi-organ transplants are relatively rare -- just over 1,000 were performed in the U.S. in 2019. With the highest rate of multi-organ transplants in the region, Duke has the expertise and experience to perform combinations of organ transplants not offered at other hospitals, such as heart-kidney, heart-liver, heart-lung, liver-lung, and liver-small bowel-pancreas.
Fewer than 100 people in the world have received hand transplants. The leader of our hand transplant program participated in the first two hand transplants performed in the U.S., and Duke is one of the few hospitals in the world that has the expertise and technology to perform this complex procedure.
Duke is one of the few hospitals in the U.S. with experienced transplant surgeons who perform intestinal transplants in both adults and children.
Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2021–2022.
A Team Approach
Your Duke transplant team includes doctors and surgeons, nutritionists, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists, social workers, financial counselors, and others, depending on your specific health condition. Our transplant coordinators are nurses specially trained in transplant care. They will help you navigate the transplant process and are available to answer all your questions. We provide educational care guides and many other resources to prepare you and your family for transplant.
Access to Clinical Trials
Our doctors are leaders in transplantation research and are involved in clinical trials to test new therapies and ways to reduce transplant rejection. As a patient at Duke Health, you may be eligible to participate.
Duke offers a full range of services to help you prepare for transplant surgery, including smoking cessation and pulmonary rehabilitation programs. You will also have access to a wide range of specialists, should you need them. As a Duke transplant recipient, you are our patient for life. We will provide you with the resources and support you need -- right after surgery and in the years to come.