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    UNOS Kidney Paired Donation Pilot Project Launches

    by Steven Katznelson, M.D., Medical Director, Kidney Transplant Program and Laura Miyashita

    California Pacific at Forefront of Nationwide Effort to Increase Living Donor Transplants

    In response to a national effort to increase living donor kidney transplant rates, the government’s Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), has launched a national kidney paired donation (KPD) transplant program that has California Pacific Medical Center at its forefront.

    “The purpose of this program is to eventually make KPD available to as many transplant centers and patients as possible,” says Steven Katznelson, M.D., medical director of California Pacific Medical Center’s Kidney Transplant Program. He explains, “Of the nearly 90,000 people currently on the national kidney transplant wait list, it is felt that about 6,000 would qualify for a paired donation if they knew of this option. An efficient, national KPD effort could result in 2,000 to 3,000 additional living donor kidney transplants annually. Also, the more patients that are registered for KPD, the greater the likelihood of finding additional matches.”

    Paired Donation diagram- Incompatible Pair 1 exchanges kidneys with incompatible Pair 2

    California Pacific, working alongside UCLA’s kidney transplant program, is one of four coordinating pilot programs nationwide. The coordinating programs are working with 77 kidney transplant centers. As part of the OPTN’s pilot KPD program, computer software performs “match runs” every four to five weeks. The first swap identified was a two-way kidney swap that occurred in December 2010 with transplants per-formed at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Mo.

    A Leader in KPD

    California Pacific Medical Center has been a national leader in KPD for four years. “We performed our first kidney swap in 2007 using a software program called Matchmaker designed by one of our transplant recipients,” says Katznelson. “Since then, KPD has become integral to our living donor kidney transplant program.”

    In 2009 California Pacific’s Kidney Team also started working with the National Kidney Registry, a Web-based KPD program involving dozens of transplant centers. To date, California Pacific has performed nearly 50 living donor kidney transplants by KPD, making the hospital one of the largest single-center KPD programs in the country.

    Given the launch of the national KPD pilot program, California Pacific now offers multiple swap options to patients on its kidney waiting list. “We enter all patients with incompatible recipient and donor pairs into our single-center software,” says Katznelson. “If we cannot find a swap match for our patients, our living donor nurse coordinators then enter a patient’s name both on the National Kidney Registry, and the OPTNKPD list. We feel that this combination gives our patients the greatest possible number of options.”

    article from Spring Summer 2011Kidney Review newsletter