Kidney Transplant Program
Paired Kidney Exchange Program
When a living donor's kidney is incompatible with the patient in need, the Paired Kidney Exchange Program can provide a solution. Our transplant center participates in one such exchange program, called the National Kidney Registry. Effectively a "kidney swap," this program helps to make more transplants possible by expanding the pool of potential live organ donors.
A successful kidney transplant relies in part on the donor and recipient having compatible blood types. The recipient also cannot have antibodies that would kill cells in the donated organ, a problem that can be identified before surgery through crossmatch tests.
If you and a potential donor have incompatible blood types, or if the crossmatch tests are positive for likely organ rejection, the Paired Kidney Exchange Program helps to identify another donor/recipient pair with the same problem. The donor in each pair then gives his kidney to the transplant recipient in the other pair.
For instance, a donor with type-B blood and recipient with type-A blood are paired with a donor with type-A blood and a recipient with type-B blood. The donor in the first pair gives a kidney to the recipient in the second pair, and vice versa.
This arrangement provides all of the benefits of living donation. Every participant in a paired exchange also gets a psychological benefit. The recipients can experience positive feelings knowing that their new kidneys came from caring strangers. The donors also gain the satisfaction of helping to improve the recipients' health.