San Antonio, TX...Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital (MSTH), a campus of Methodist Hospital, has performed its 250th paired kidney exchange, setting a national record for a single hospital, while performing 10 lifesaving exchange transplants during the last week of January.
The paired kidney exchange program includes living donors who wish to give their kidney but cannot because of blood or tissue incompatibility with the recipient. Incompatible pairs are matched with other incompatible pairs, and the donors are exchanged, resulting in compatible transplant combinations.
“Our philosophy is to help as many people as we can despite the challenges,” said Adam Bingaman, M.D., Ph.D., transplant surgeon and director of the program. “There are over 95,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list and their chances of receiving a transplant are low, with an average wait of more than five years. Time is against people on dialysis– the sooner we can get them transplanted, the sooner they can return to good health.” Each year about 4,500 Americans die waiting for a kidney.
The paired donor program at MSTH began in 2008 and has helped to pioneer the field of paired donation, successfully transplanting patients from across the U.S. and international pairs from Canada and Italy. The program’s success hinges on a team approach along with a world-class immunology laboratory. “Our group likes a challenge,” Bingaman said when talking about difficult-to-match patients who have travelled from near and far to receive exchange transplants in San Antonio. “We never get tired of giving folks their lives back, free from a dialysis machine.”
“A special emphasis is on blood type and antibody matching,”he continued. “We ensure each exchange recipient receives a kidney from a donor who is a complete or very close match, often making it unnecessary to utilize high-risk desensitization therapies to enable a transplant between incompatible pairs.”
The program at MSTH is the largest live donor kidney transplant program and the largest single-center paired donation program in the nation. In a single center program, all the transplants involved in the exchange are performed in one facility. The 250th exchange occurred during a 10 recipient exchange over a three-day period. Patients were from throughout Texas and from as far away as Kansas and Italy. Recipients ranged in age from 38 to 78. Donors ranged in age from 19 to 66 and included family members and friends.
“My doctor in Italy told me about the successful kidney transplant program at Methodist in San Antonio. Everyone I met gave me hope and confidence that I would get a matched kidney. I am grateful to the transplant team and to my friend Roberto who donated a kidney on my behalf,” said Fillipo Gazza, 53, of Parma, Italy. His lifelong friend Roberto Paniconne, 52, of Coho, Italy, traveled to San Antonio for an exchange transplant.
“Our experience tells us that paired kidney exchanges are patient-driven and could help about 2,000 patients a year receive a kidney,” Bingaman said.“We want to educate as many people as possible about this transplant option and our extensive experience with paired exchange. The more pairs we have, the more recipients will receive the kidneys they desperately need.”
If you need a kidney transplant or wish to be considered for one, please call our center at 800-888-0402 or visit TexasTransplant.org.