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Lourdes Transplant Program Participates in Regional’s First Successful Four-Way Kidney Swap Chain involving patients from New England to southern New Jersey

CAMDEN, N.J. —  On Monday, April 26 the transplant team at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center achieved another medical milestone by participating in the region’s first successful “kidney swap chain” involving four donor/recipient pairs, announced Alexander J. Hatala, president and CEO for the Lourdes Health System.

The all four-donor surgeries were performed simultaneously on Monday at the participating transplant centers including Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center and hospitals in northern New Jersey, Boston and New Hampshire. Once the organs were harvested they were flown by separate planes to the waiting recipients who received their new kidneys later in the day.

“Paired kidney exchange” offers new life-saving options to those  seeking a kidney transplant, but whose potential living donor is not a good biological match due to either blood type or cross-match incompatibility. This option allows incompatible donors to help their loved ones to receive a living donor kidney by matching one incompatible donor/recipient pair with another incompatible pair. In “kidney swap chains” a number of willing donors exchange kidneys to recipients, thus increasing the number of life-saving surgeries being performed at the same time. Living donor kidney transplants have better outcomes, less rejection and are longer-lasting, making them preferable to deceased-donor transplants.

The New England Paired Kidney Exchange (NEPKE), which maintains a registry of incompatible, but willing donor-recipient pairs, coordinated the multiple pair exchange in conjunction with the Sharing Network, New Jersey’s organ procurement organization, and the transplant coordinators at the participating hospitals. Last September the transplant team at Lourdes performed the first successful “double swap” kidney transplant in the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey region involving a Williamstown, NJ couple and another from New York.

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