A total of 885 kidney transplant operations were performed in Australia in 2020, with 9 in 10 of these being the first kidney transplant. Of all transplanted kidneys in 2020, 704 (80%) were from deceased donors and 181 (20%) were from living donors (ANZDATA 2021).
Kidney transplantation is the preferred type of kidney replacement therapy (KRT), as it lowers long-term mortality risk and costs, and increases quality of life (Liem et al. 2008). Following transplantation, care directed towards preventing chronic kidney disease (CKD) is required (KHA 2021).
Successful kidney transplants where recipients are still living with their transplant, regardless of how many years ago they received it, are referred to on this web page as ‘functioning kidney transplants’.
Transplanted kidneys can be donated by either deceased or living donors. The number of donated kidneys available for transplantation is insufficient to meet demand, with 1,412 Australians on the kidney transplant waiting list as at 1 November 2022 (ANZOD 2022c).
A total of 656 kidney transplants from deceased donors took place in 2021, with a further 658 as of 1 December 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially affected activity to do with organ donation and transplantation – 857 kidney transplants from deceased donors took place in 2019, falling to 704 in 2020 (ANZOD 2022a,b). For more information on the impact of COVID-19 on CKD, see Impact of COVID-19.
Variation by age and sex
In 2020, 13,100 people with kidney failure had a functioning kidney transplant (8,100 males and 5,000 females) (ANZDATA 2021).
The highest number of people with a functioning kidney transplant were in the 55–64 year age group (2,200 men and 1,300 women) (Figure 1). This was followed by the 65–74 year age group (2,000 men and 1,100 women) and then the 45–54 year age group (1,700 men and 1,100 women).
The number of males with a functioning kidney transplant exceeded the number of females in all age groups.
Figure 1: Prevalence of people living with a kidney transplant, by age and sex, 2020