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Transplantation involves the replacement of diseased organs with healthy ones. The most commonly transplanted organ is the kidney followed by the liver and heart. Healthy organs are surgically removed from live donors (kidneys) or patients with irreversible brain injury who have died (deceased organ donors).

University Surgical Associates provides kidney transplantation to residents of southeastern New England. The transplant program began in 1997. As of 2019, over 1300 kidney transplants have been performed in recipients age 2 to 80. Approximately 50-60 kidney transplant procedures are performed each year at Rhode Island Hospital, including 40% from living donors. In collaboration with two pediatric nephrologists at Hasbro Children's Hospital, we have performed 50 pediatric renal transplants. A considerable effort is made to identify potential live donors so that each kidney transplant recipient may benefit from the shorter waiting time (generally 2 - 3 months) and immediate graft function that accompanies these procedures. We were one of the first programs in the United States to accept kidneys from non-directed donors (unrelated strangers) and perform live donor kidney exchanges or transplant chains to facilitate transplantation for incompatible pairs.

University Surgical Associates also offers the full scope of surgical therapy required in end stage renal disease including: peritoneal dialysis catheter placement; arterial-venous fistula creation; and temporary and permanent catheters for hemodialysis. We also offer expertise in the treatment of general surgical and urologic problems, including renal cancers, in patients with chronic kidney disease. 

Rhode Island Hospital is annually in the top 3 - 4 New England hospitals for the recovery of organs from deceased donors. As a result, our patients benefit from reduced waiting time for transplantation.

Rhode Island Hospital, affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, is easily reached from anywhere in southern New England. Patients enjoy the best of both worlds; they are remembered as individuals while being treated according to the highest standards in the country. We offer a close-knit environment that fosters working with each patient's community physician, but at the same time we are backed by all the supporting services that come with being one of the highest volume medical centers in New England.


Rhode Island Hospital's Kidney Transplant Center has organized a comprehensive group of supporting specialists to ensure that every aspect of each patient's care is expertly and seamlessly coordinated. These include:

  • Transplant nephrologists (four MDs) 
  • Transplant infectious disease physician
  • Transplant pathologists
  • Dermatologist specializing in skin cancers arising from immunosuppression
  • Transplant psychiatrists and social workers
  • Transplant nurses and coordinators
  •  Nutritionists
  •  Transplant pharmacist
  •  Financial coordinator to assist with third party coverage


The Division of Organ Transplantation continues to be an active participant in national trials evaluating the efficacy of various drug regimens in improving outcomes, reducing rejection rates, and enhancing quality of life. The Center has also recently instituted protocols for reducing alloantibody levels in highly sensitized patients using intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIg), plasmapheresis, and anti-CD20 antibody (Rituximab). Currently, the division is involved in several on-going trials and employs two research associates.

Other areas of interest and investigation include:

  • Non-directed (altruistic) kidney donation
  • Desensitization of anti-HLA antibodies before transplantation
  • Preemptive plasmapheresis in preventing recurrent FSGS in renal transplant
  • Surveillance ultrasound-guided renal transplant biopsies
  • Live donor transplant outcomes for organ donors and recipients
  •  A large experience in utilizing kidneys from donors after cardiac death (DCD)
  • Allosure (donor-derived DNA) assays for monitoring kidney health
  • Novel protocols for post-transplant viral infections (BK virus and cytomegalovirus)

To learn more, call the Division of Organ Transplantation at 401-444-8562.


For more information about living kidney donation call the Division of Organ Transplantation or the live donor nurse coordinator, Sarah Gibb, RN, at 401-444-3091.


To schedule an appointment for dialysis access surgery, call our University Surgical Associates office at 401-228-0638.

Useful links for Transplantation in Rhode Island

Find a Transplant Surgeon

Transplant Surgery Specialists

Paul E Morrissey, MD, FACS

Adena Osband, MD