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Kidney Transplant Patient Story: Nyke Block

Watch Nyke Block describe her story from unexpected diagnosis, to her journey with our Transplant Center, that ultimately led to her receiving a life-saving living donor kidney transplant.

The End-Stage Kidney Disease and Kidney Transplant Program at Froedtert Hospital is a national leader in adult living donor and deceased donor kidney transplants. Our program is recognized for outstanding patient survival rates, research, innovation, expert staff and shorter wait times. The program is certified for kidney transplantation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. 

Our Transplant Center is a joint program of Children’s Wisconsin and Froedtert Hospital with vital support by Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin for tissue typing and research initiatives. Representing the most comprehensive pediatric and adult transplant care in Wisconsin, the program is recognized for nationally ranked outcomes, internationally known transplant specialists and end-stage disease management: a critical resource for Wisconsin and beyond.

At Froedtert Hospital, we performed our first kidney transplant in 1967, Wisconsin’s first minimally invasive donor surgery (nephrectomy) in 1999 and the state’s first incompatible blood type kidney transplant in 2004. The transplant team collaborates with experts in pancreas transplant and end-stage kidney disease to offer comprehensive, multidisciplinary care.

Get answers to frequently asked questions.

Kidney Transplant Outcomes Exceed National Averages

The End-Stage Kidney Disease and Kidney Transplant Program offers consistent excellence in kidney transplant survival outcomes that meet or exceed national benchmarks. For the most current outcomes data, visit the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR).

While many factors influence outcomes, Froedtert Hospital offers distinct advantages including:

  • A focus on living-donor transplants — Froedtert Hospital has an active living-donor kidney transplant program and participates in a paired kidney exchange program and the National Kidney Registry.
  • Incompatible transplant — Our End-Stage Kidney Disease and Kidney Transplant Program was the first in the state and is one of the few in the country offering incompatible blood type transplantation through its partnership with Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin. The approach decreases wait times for patients by expanding the pool of donors beyond those with a compatible blood type. Treatments before and after transplant reduce rejection by lowering antibodies in the patient’s blood.

Experienced Kidney Transplant Specialists

A team of transplant-experienced specialists care for all aspects of a patient’s health and well-being, whether they are organ donors or recipients. The team includes transplant surgeons, transplant nephrologists, pre- and post-transplant coordinators, nurses, social workers, financial counselors, registered dietitians and psychologists. They work closely with patients from initial evaluation through post-transplant care. Our team has performed thousands of kidney transplants, including those incorporating pancreas transplants.

Through their academic medical center affiliation, care team members have access to the latest clinical trials and the broad expertise of their colleagues. As faculty members at the Medical College of Wisconsin, our transplant experts teach the next generation of transplant specialists.

Physician Referrals

Use the kidney and pancreas transplant referral form to refer your patient to the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program.

Minimized Wait Times

Wait times for living donor and deceased donor kidney transplant are shorter at Froedtert Hospital due to several critical factors.

  • Larger pool of living donor options – Our incompatible donor program and affiliations with the two largest national kidney exchanges increases the potential pool of living donors to a nationwide scale. In fact, in 2013, our program was part of the world’s second largest kidney chain in history, involving 56 participants. Our program participates in exchanges through the National Kidney Registry (NKR) and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
  • Location – Compared to national averages, wait times for deceased kidney donors are lower in Wisconsin. The median wait time for a deceased donor transplant at Froedtert Hospital is lower than national averages, according to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.
  • Affiliation with Wisconsin Donor Network (WDN) – Based on Froedtert Hospital’s campus, the WDN is eastern Wisconsin’s federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO). The network serves 2.3 million people in 12 Wisconsin counties. It is one of the busiest OPOs in the country, which impacts the supply of organs available for transplant. See our FAQ for more information about waiting lists.

International Patients

We are here to help international patients arrange for their care at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Expert Care Offers Life-Long Advantages

Before transplant, our team of supportive experts works with transplant patients, living donors and families as advocates to reduce risk factors and promote optimal health in all aspects of life – physically, emotionally and even financially. This approach, combined with education, positions patients to be excellent transplant candidates or donors and to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Through our Nephrology Clinic, specialists in kidney donation and end-stage kidney disease monitor patient health and provide best-practice care, including dialysis, until transplant is needed and available. Nephrology Clinic specialists work closely with the transplant team to coordinate transplant care after surgery and for the long-term.

Learn more about the kidney transplant patient and living donor experiences.

FAQ and Resources

Transplant and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Transplant patients may be at a higher risk of severe COVID-19, and we have seen worse outcomes if they do get it. Due to the increased risk, we recommend transplant patients get the vaccine.

Recognized as High Performing by U.S. News & World Report

Froedtert Hospital is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as high performing in five adult specialties and seven procedures and conditions, including kidney failure treatment.