Northwestern Medicine transplant surgeons and physicians have reached a significant milestone with the completion of the 100th successful kidney paired donation transplant, a strategy which has enlarged the pool of kidneys available for donation for patients with a living donor who is not compatible.
According to Michael Abecassis, MD
, chief of the division of organ transplantation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the J. Roscoe Miller distinguished professor in the departments of surgery and microbiology/immunology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, many times when family members want to donate, they are not matches for their loved ones. They can, however, donate their kidney to someone else who matches, and in return, their loved one receives the gift of life. A paired exchange is a possible solution for donor and recipient pairs who have certain incompatibilities including blood type and immunological differences. Paired exchange transplants are made possible when a kidney donor, who is not compatible with their intended recipient, is paired with another donor and recipient in the same situation.
Over the last four years, Northwestern’s living donor kidney transplant program has grown to become one of the largest in the country, performing 636 living donor kidney transplants over the past four years. This is more than any other hospital in the United States. In 2011, surgeons performed 154 living donor kidney transplants. Kidneys from living donors tend to last longer, function better and have fewer complications than organs from deceased donors. However, approximately one third of living donors are not a match for their intended recipient.
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