Andrea Voorhees, Sanford Health, (701) 234-2000, ask for pager 1715
Jennifer Amundson, Fairview Health Services, 612-672-4165
Gloria O’Connell, Abbott Northwestern, 612-863-4801
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Anonymous donor triggers chain of five kidney transplants at three hospitals
(Fargo, ND) – An anonymous kidney donor began a sequence of ten surgeries, resulting in five people in two states receiving kidney transplants. The transplant chain included two surgeries at Sanford Health Medical Center in Fargo, four at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis and four at University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview, in Minneapolis.
Transplant surgeons say all donors and recipients are recovering and doing well.
This rare chain of surgeries was made possible by unique programs at the transplant centers. The non-directed donor program allows individuals who meet strict criteria to donate a kidney, anonymously, to the most compatible recipient on the waiting list. The paired exchange kidney donation program allows a potential recipient with a willing, but incompatible, donor to be placed in a “pool” with other incompatible donors and potential recipients. The end result is that the donor agrees to give a kidney if a match is found for his or her partner.
In this case, a non-directed donor in Minneapolis was a match for a potential recipient in Fargo in the paired exchange pool. The Minneapolis kidney was flown to Fargo. Two surgeries later, a kidney from Fargo was driven to Minneapolis, extending the chain with four more transplants at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview. In total, ten people produced five successful kidney transplants.
“The idea of a transplant chain makes many additional living donor transplants possible, even when the donor-recipient pairs do not match,” says Dr. Bhargav Mistry, transplant surgeon, Sanford Health. “Chain transplants, also called kidney exchange or swap programs, are very rare. With over 250 transplant centers in the nation, less than 20 programs offer such an option.”
Non-directed donation is anonymous. For that reason, the patients involved in these transplants are not identified and not available for interviews at this time.
Transplant surgeons at University of Minnesota Medical Center, Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Sanford Health are available for interviews about transplant chains, paired donation pool and non-directed donation. DVDs with video of surgeries are available at the University of Minnesota Medical Center (non-directed donor) and Sanford Health (kidney recipient).
Journalists can download video and other materials related to this story at www.fairview.org/transplantchain.