Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A long non-simultaneous kidney exchange chain

Mike Rees' revolution in kidney exchange--non-simultaneous extended altrusitic donor (NEAD) chains--continues to grow.. Here's a story about a long one, brokered by the National Kidney Registry, that ended recently in San Diego: San Diego couple final link in kidney transplant chain.

"The transplant chain relied on donations involving 21 donors and 21 recipients in seven states. Each person in need of a kidney had a donor partner — a relative, friend, co-worker or possibly a stranger — whose kidney was not a match for them.
"The 21-transplant chain began Jan. 20 in New York with a donor whose kidney was given to a patient at the same Bronx hospital.

"That recipient had a partner donor whose kidney was flown to UC San Francisco Medical Center and given to a recipient. That person’s partner donated a kidney that was sent to St. Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey.

"The chain continued to crisscross the country — including nine surgeries on Tuesday and Wednesday — before finally ending in San Diego...
"The final recipient did not have a donor partner but was on Sharp Memorial’s transplant list.
"“This is why we get up and go to work,” said Dr. Barry Browne, who performed the transplants at Sharp Memorial.

“With this new way of facilitating transplants, we can do a lot more,” he said. ...

"There has been no nationwide program for live donor transplants, however, and transplant centers have relied on their own networks to find suitable organs. Donors and patients also have turned to the Internet, with creating the largest online network.

"UNOS started a pilot program this year for kidney paired-donation transplants and five medical centers will participate.
“We expect to have the first of these chains done in the fall,” said UNOS spokeswoman Anne Paschke.

"Browne said the need for kidney transplants is expected to continue growing because the leading causes of kidney failure — including diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity — continue to escalate."

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