A series of extremely rare and complicated nine-way kidney transplant procedures was completed by surgeons at UCSF and California Pacific Medical Center on Friday evening, after it spanned two days and required eighteen surgeries and several transports between the two medical centers. This makes it the longest such chain of transplants completed within a short period.
Ten of the eighteen surgeries were completed on Thursday, with Friday bringing the completion of the remaining eight, with four of the kidneys being swapped between the two centers in the process. All of the organs arrived safely at destination and all of the eighteen transplants were effectuated successfully, according to both UCSF and California Pacific officials.
However, this still leaves over 100,000 Americans in the waiting line for kidney transplant, mostly because of different conditions which have ended in renal failure. Renal procedures are complicated because the donor’s kidney must be a match to be transplanted succesfully, which unfortunately isn’t the case in many families who are willing to donate to each other in case of need. Some people may be looking forward towards four or five years of waiting for a transplant.
A new computer program used by California Pacific staff aims to simplify the procedure in an inventive way, being the one responsible for booking the nine-way transplant. It effectively matches donors with their desired recipients, even if the kidney isn’t compatible; the donor’s kidney will then be matched with a compatible recipient, and in exchange for this the chosen recipient will also be provided with a compatible donor, and so on This is a handy solution to both increase the number of donors and satisfy people who cannot directly help their loved ones.
However, pairing such large chains is usually difficult as the matching process is quite comprehensive, selecting the best matches based on a number of different filters varying from age or blood type to more detailed analysis of blood composition to see if there is any risk for the recipient’s body of rejecting the transplant. This particular chain of transplants was started by 56-year old Reid Moran-Haywood, who found himself in the impossibility of donating a kidney to a friend a couple of months and opted for inclusion in the program, ending with the massive chain of surgeries.
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