WVU Medicine is the first to have a fully-functional multi-organ transplant center in West Virginia.

The United Network for Organ Sharing granted WVU Medicine the approval to conduct kidney transplants in September.

“By becoming the state’s first multi-organ transplant center, we are able to offer life-saving care to people who previously had to leave the state to find it,” said Dr. Michael Shullo, associate vice president of transplant services at WVU Medicine.

At least 271 West Virginia residents qualify as kidney transplant candidates and they can now seek help from WVU Medicine, the state’s leading academic medical center, according to UNOS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

“I think it really changes the game for that population with kidney failure,” Shullo said.

Dialysis and kidney transplantation are two common kinds of treatment for kidney failure.

Dialysis prevents waste from building up in the body by removing it and can be a treatment for those who cannot or do not have or want a transplant, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Two kinds of kidney transplants, deceased donor transplant and living donor transplant will be offered at WVU Medicine. Kidney transplants are more effective than dialysis, and patients have a better quality of life.

Currently, WVU Medicine has 10 hospitals in the state that can now help fight kidney failure.

“We are charged with providing West Virginians and all we serve with the care they need,” Shullo said. “I think this is really going to open the door for a lot of people that have given up on getting advanced care.”