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Anonymous Donor Triggers Chain of Three Kidney Transplants in Two States

(MINNEAPOLIS, MN)  – An anonymous kidney donor began a sequence of six surgeries, resulting in three people in two states receiving kidney transplants.

The transplant chain included two surgeries at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, SD, and four at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital and University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview over the last month.

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 exchange partner.

In this case, a non-directed donor in Minneapolis was a match for a potential recipient in Sioux Falls in the paired exchange pool.  The Minneapolis kidney was flown to Sioux Falls. Two surgeries later, a kidney from Sioux Falls was driven to Minneapolis. The chain continued with two more transplants at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital and University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.  In total, three donors gave kidneys to three recipients in the last month.

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.

This is the first time Sanford USD Medical Center and University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital have been involved in a kidney transplant chain. 

This chain is the sixth for University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview – involving a total of 36 patients. The medical center’s first chain was completed in July 2010.

For more information about kidney donation, click here.

STORY ELEMENTS: Transplant surgeons are available for interviews about transplant chains, paired donation pool and non-directed donation.

Jennifer Amundson
Fairview Health Services
Jessica Brovold
Sanford USD Medical Center