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Paired Exchange

pairee exchange1The transplantation program at Lourdes has taken a lead in its state and region in paired kidney exchange–an effort to increase the availability of kidneys from living donors.  In paired exchange, two or more kidney patients whose living donors are not compatible with them in blood and tissue type each receive a kidney from the other’s living donor through a matching system. The donor is matched with a compatible recipient and the recipient is matched with a compatible donor.  An individual with a blood type incompatible with his or her loved one still gets to make a live-organ donation and does so in such a way that the loved one receives the needed kidney transplant and another recipient receives a gift of life.

The program uses a computerized registry of intended kidney donor-recipient pairs to match a donor or recipient of one pair with a compatible donor or recipient of another pair. Paired exchange registries participate with multiple transplant centers throughout the country, offering a large pool for matching.   While there may be a wait time in the registry, recipients may still achieve the benefits of having a living kidney donor transplant.  If the pairs of individuals matched by the system are cleared by a medical review board and agree to the organ exchange, the donations and transplant surgeries occur simultaneously.

Bring a donor, get a donor.   Lourdes leads the way. Lourdes performed the region’s first successful “double swap” kidney transplant.  Learn more.   And read about other paired exchanges at Lourdes.

Paired exchanges also sometimes involve multiple pairs of donors and recipients. Because the exchange network tracks and assists many patients waiting for specific organ matches, organ swaps can result in more than just one paired exchange, instead initiating a domino or chained exchange in which operations for several pairs of donor/recipients take place at once. Lourdes’ program has conducted a number of these multi-center transplants, including by working with transplant centers in Philadelphia.

Lourdes Performed Region’s First Multi-Pair Kidney Swap

Lourdes became the first kidney transplant center in the South Jersey/Philadelphia/Delaware Valley area to participate in paired exchange involving multiple centers — in this case four centers across three states. An altruistic donor made it possible to initiate the exchange, which involved three other donors and four kidney transplant recipients. Learn more.

For a waiting transplant recipient, participating in the paired exchange registry does not preclude other organ donation possibilities. If a suitable deceased-donor kidney becomes available for one of the intended recipients before a paired-exchange surgery is scheduled, he or she will be offered that organ.

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