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What is a kidney transplant? - How long does a transplant last?


A kidney transplant does not last for ever. The average life-span of a transplanted kidney is twelve years for a deceased donor kidney, and about 15 years for a living related transplant. The average for a living unrelated transplant is somewhere between the two. So, the ‘best’ (longest lasting) kidney transplant is one from a relative, then a friend or partner, then a dead person.

Another way of looking at how long a transplanted kidney is likely to last is to look at the percentage chance that the kidney will be working at set time points.

  • a 90% chance (nine out of ten) of working one year after the operation
  • a 70% chance (seven out of ten) of lasting five years;
  • a 50% chance (five out of ten) of lasting ten years or more.

So, younger patients may need two or more transplants in their lives. If a transplant fails, the patient can restart dialysis and go back on the transplant waiting list.

The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.

NKF Controlled Document No. 272: How long does a transplant last? written: 01/05/2000 last reviewed: 22/02/2019