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Programs and research
Quality and experience you can trust
On a yearly basis, UW Health consistently performs more transplants than most hospital systems. Our wait times are among the shortest in the region, and our outcomes are excellent. Our transplant teams have the experience you need for the very best results.
We are one of just six centers in the nation — and the only center in Wisconsin — actively transplanting adult and pediatric patients requiring heart, kidney, liver, lung, pancreas, multi-organ or renal autotransplant. Our living donation program is among the nation’s largest and serves living kidney and liver donors. Our organ and tissue donation program is a Health Resources and Services Administration best-practice site and leads the nation in serving deceased organ and tissue donors.
Innovation and research
UW Health is part of an academic medical center. We create and test new ways to help transplant patients live longer and reduce risks for living donors.
Our history is rich in innovations that forever changed the world of transplantation, including the discovery of UW Solution, the first successful cold-storage fluid developed to maintain donated organs during transport to the recipient, used for decades in organ recoveries worldwide; and CellCept, one of the most widely adopted anti-rejection medicines.
Some of our current work includes studying new medicines that reduce the side effects of immunosuppression. We are also looking at ways to improve long-term survival rates for organ transplant patients.
Renowned adult, pediatric and living donor transplant programs
Injury, cancer, diabetes, heart failure and other diseases can damage organs. Organ transplant offers new hope for a full and healthy life for people with end-stage organ failure.
At UW Health, we use advanced transplant techniques. Many of these techniques were created by our team and are now used throughout the world. Our living donation programs are among the largest and most successful in the nation. Our personalized services separate our program from other large transplant centers. We welcome you to our transplant and donation family.
Learn more about our adult organ transplant programs:
Learn more about our heart transplant program
We provide heart transplants to treat heart failure and heart disease. Our wait times are among the nation’s shortest. We are one of just five centers in the nation transplanting hearts from cardiac death donors using a device that preserves heart function between donation and transplant. We use minimally-invasive techniques to improve their health and for some, as support while they wait for a transplant. We proudly serve veterans as a Veteran’s Administration-approved transplant program.
Learn more about our kidney transplant program
We are among the nation’s largest kidney transplant programs and offer many options for kidney donation and transplant. We provide both living donor and deceased donor kidney transplants.
Learn more about our liver transplant program
We offer living and deceased donor liver transplants. A liver transplant helps people with liver failure and some liver diseases, such as hepatitis C and cirrhosis. We proudly serve veterans as a Veterans Administration-approved transplant program.
Learn more about our lung transplant program
A lung transplant helps people with advanced lung disease. We treat the most complex lung patients, including multi-organ transplants. Our wait times are very short, and our outcomes are excellent. We are proud to serve veterans as a Veterans Administration-approved transplant program.
Learn more about our pancreas transplant program
We perform more pancreas transplants than any other program in the United States. A transplant may be an option if you are living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes or if your pancreas was removed.
Pancreas/kidney transplant — We are the largest combined kidney/pancreas transplant program in the United States. A pancreas/kidney transplant ends diabetes and replaces a kidney damaged by the disease. Learn more about our pancreas-kidney transplant quality
Autologous islet cell — An autologous islet cell transplant treats chronic pancreatitis. Your damaged pancreas is removed and your islet cells are placed in your liver where they make insulin. Learn more about our autologous islet cell transplant clinic
Learn more about our renal autotransplant program
A renal autotransplant helps people who suffer chronic loin pain, most commonly due to loin pain hematuria or nutcracker disease. We are the largest renal autotransplant program in the nation serving adults and adolescents.
Multiple organ transplant
Our surgeons are experienced in multi-organ transplants. They work with their fellow experts in other organ programs to manage the complex care of patients who need more than one organ transplanted.
Living donation program
Learn more about becoming a living donor
Living donation occurs when a living person provides a kidney or a portion of their liver to someone who needs a transplant. An organ from a living donor gives patients the best chance of a healthy life. At UW Health, we provide education, information and support to those considering the gift of a living donation. We honor and celebrate our living donors heroes.
Pediatric transplant services
Renowned experts, personalized care
Learn more about our Kids heart, kidney, liver, lung, pancreas, renal auto and multiple-organ transplant programs and support services.
Our team focuses on you and your specific needs before, during and after your transplant and donation experience.
Housing and patient support
Our histocompatibility lab provides clinical services and research specific to transplant patients and donors to ensure the highest level of organ matching.
We link you by phone or in person to a mentor who received an organ transplant or donated an organ. Your mentor will share information about their experience and answer your questions.
Learn more about our pharmacy services
Pharmacists with expertise in transplant will assist you with your medication education and management.
Promoting the gift of life
We provide ways you can help others better understand the importance of organ donation and transplantation:
Writing your donor family
Get resources to facilitate correspondence with your deceased donor's family
Our team facilitates correspondence between recipients and deceased donor family members.
Subscribe to Transplant Update
Learn how we’re improving transplantation, read inspiring stories and discover ways you can save more lives by promoting organ donation.
Referring a patient for transplant
It is a privilege to care for your patient who may need a single or multiple-organ transplant. A pioneer in this field, UW Health consistently performs more transplants than most hospital systems nationwide, with shorter wait times and excellent outcomes. We look forward to making the referral process as easy as possible while keeping communication with your office flowing.
We offer pre-and post- transplant surgery services for adults at University Hospital in Madison. Our team serves pediatric patients at American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison. We also serve pre- and post- transplant patients in Belvidere and Rockford, Illinois; and in Green Bay, Madison, Marshfield, Sparta, Waukesha and Wausau, Wisconsin.
Pleasant T. Rowland Transplant Clinic
The Pleasant T. Rowland Transplant Clinic represents a new era of transplant care. The full spectrum of adult transplant services are available in a modern clinic located just inside the University Hospital Clinics Entrance.
Meet our team
Our expert transplant teams
Our team of transplant experts are known worldwide for their research, innovation and continuous focus on improving patient care. Their work to reduce transplant wait times, lessen the need for immunosuppression and improve transplant outcomes has forever changed the world of transplant and organ donation.
Together with our patients and families, we provide personalized care and education through every step of your donation or transplant journey.
Your transplant care team has expertise in issues specific to transplantation. Our experts include:
Adult and pediatric physician specialists in organ failure and transplant, cardiology, gastroenterology, hepatology, nephrology, pulmonology
Transplant nurse coordinators
Pediatric Transplant Surgery
Pediatric Transplant Medicine
Patient and support services
Resources for patients and families
We offer many helpful resources for before and after your transplant.
COVID-19 info for people in need of transplant
COVID-19 continues to be a risk to transplant patients. Please stay current on vaccines. Please note that masking is required in the Pleasant T. Rowland Transplant Clinic and when visiting a transplant patient.
Cut your wait time
Dual list with UW Health to shorten your wait time.
Leading the history and future of transplantation
The 60s & 70s
In the first half of the 20th century, transplantation was in its infancy. At University Hospital, a small team of dedicated physicians, surgeons and organ donation experts - led by the new chairman of Surgery, Folkert Belzer, MD - created the UW School of Medicine Division of Transplantation, and UW Health began to rapidly build its reputation as an innovative leader if the field.
During the 1980’s, experts focused on ways to save more lives through transplantation. The UW Solution, a warm preservation solution that greatly expanded the time between organ recovery and transplant, was created by Dr. Folkert Belzer and biochemist Jim Southard, PhD. Hans Sollinger, MD, created a surgical technique that vastly improved outcomes for pancreas transplant patients. As the field grew, so did the types of organs being transplanted at UW Health.
One of the main challenges transplant physicians faced was making sure a patient’s body did not reject their transplanted organ. Existing medications had unpleasant, even dangerous, side effects. After years of testing the FDA approved the drug now known as CellCept and transplant survival rates dramatically improved. New protocols for organ donation increased the availability of organs; pediatric transplant rapidly expanded and living liver donation became a life-saving option.
UW Health continued their strong focus on research and innovations. To protect other organs, studies expanded to include a focus on avoiding the use of corticosteroids after transplant. Studies to replace the pancreas with islet cells from a pancreas expanded; and multi-organ transplants became the norm for patients requiring more than one organ. Renal autotransplant began as an option for people suffering from loin pain and associated syndromes.
Work to increase the number of registered organ donors took a huge leap with the opening of Wisconsin’s online donor registry. Living kidney donation vastly expanded when UW Health joined the new National Kidney Registry, a network that creates kidney exchanges between donors and recipients from across the country. Research to create tolerance between a donor and recipient resulted in first success.
As they continue to revolutionize transplantation, UW Health combines transplant, organ donation and laboratory expertise to form the UW Health Transplant Center. The renal autotransplant program is the largest in the nation. The Center expands with the opening of the Pleasant T. Rowland Transplant Clinic, and with the opening of their pediatric heart transplant program, the Center becomes one of just six in the nation actively serving adults and kids in need of heart, kidneys, liver, lung, pancreas and multi-organ transplants.
Meet our patients
Grateful for the gift of life
We've cared for thousands of patients during our history. Each one has touched our lives as much as we have been a part of theirs. Meet a few of our remarkable patients.
Your charitable gift makes a difference
Perhaps you are grateful for the care you or a loved one received from UW Health. Or you cherish living so close to a world-class, research-driven healthcare system that’s always there if you need it. No matter your motivation, every gift of any size means even better care for our patients.