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My wife is starting the process to get a 2nd kidney transplant and needs to pick a transplant center.  There are several nearby, and we checked the rankings at US News.  One is ranked #3 (UCSF), and the other is #36 (Stanford).

How much do these rankings really matter?  Is #3 really any better then #10? #20?  Did you consider rankings when picking your center?


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  • If I was going to make a choice, I would check on their aftercare medication regimen. Do they require lifelong prednisone? What is their nurse coordinator to patient ratio, what is their physician turnover? Do their physicians leave to go to higher prestige positions? I have been amazed when on this website at how differently each transplant center operates...
  • I never even looked at rankings when it came to deciding which transplant center to go with. My local nephrologist, who I respect greatly recommended my going to University of Michigan. I have cochlear implants and Univ. of Mi. is the cochlear implant center where I receive excellent care. My son, who is my living donor and I have received excellent care through the kidney transplant/donor program at Univ. of Mi. Univ. of Mi. Is also two hours away, which isn't too bad for driving especially in those early months post transplant. With kidney transplant joy, Margo
  • I had mine done at # 2 (Cleve Clinic).  We have two outstanding hospital systems here in Cleveland, but the rankings made an easy decision.  I believe your focus should be on who can get you a kidney, if your wife does not have a donor identified.  If you don't have a donor -- sign up for multiple regions (likely they are in the same).

    I've talked with a colleague who also had a kidney x-plant out west (sub 100 ranking) and the things they didn't tell him vs. mine who read me the riot act was incredible.  Maybe my friend left some things out, not sure.  I'd balance all things out.  I also assume your wife first transplant was done elsewhere or you'd simply go back due to 'good experience'.

    I hope that helped.  If I may ask, what is causing the need for the second transplant?  Maybe I am naive - but sure am hoping / under the expectation that mine done at age 48 (2015) should be good for the rest of my life????  The kidney is/was my only significant ailment.

    Either way -- good luck.


  • Hi Seth,

    I'm not sure about what goes into the rankings, but I do know UCSF is very well respected as far as a kidney transplant center. I had my transplant done there back in May 2016. I think they do something like 5 kidney transplants per week! 

  • I picked Baylor Because it was within travel distance from my home the ranking was secondary. I did research the hospital also to give myself more of comfort factor. It turned out to be a great decision! The staff and the doctors were fantastic and continue with great support.
  • Hi Seth,

    I agree with Cora, in that rankings are of little matter in the decision of where to have a Tx and aftercare.  Ratings can do more harm than good, as some centers "manicure" their history by accepting only the most viable candidates, instead of treating all, who are willing to try to survive.

    I will note that UCSF is on the forefront of emerging discoveries in renal medicine, however I do not know if this center the right choice for you, as you will using your them for aftercare. Given that all programs share knowledge and discoveries, it is more an issue of which center makes you comfortable and confident in the plan of care.  I have had two kidney transplants over a decade apart, in the same Tx center, because I put my faith in the program that made me confident and secure.

    Whatever center you choose, I wish you great success with the Tx and hope you enjoy many, many years in good health.

  • I had my transplants at the U of Mn Fairview and in most rankings they are in the mid 30s. I couldn't have been happier with the service I received there.

    I don't tend to put a heavy reliance on rankings and lists. Go and meet the staff. Talk to patients. Maybe look at some of the reviews of some of the docs you meet (but take those with a grain of salt too).

    I didn't use rankings when I chose my center. I went there for their cutting edge introduction and use of steroid avoidance. Distance wise they were ok for me. I liked the people I met. And apparently, they were less concerned with their own percentages and more willing to take a chance on you. They had the reputation of "they'll transplant anybody". Which isn't quite true, but if you were a higher risk and wanted to go for it, they would help. That sort of "we'll do what we can to get you the result you want" attitude doesn't translate into these sorts of rankings.

    I agree, no real difference between #3 or #30.

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