Northwestern Memorial Successfully Completes Rare Kidney Exchange Transplant
Transplant surgeons at Northwestern Memorial Hospital successfully completed a rare procedure known as a four-way domino paired kidney exchange involving a total of eight patients. The surgery is among the nation's largest paired exchanges and involved four kidney donors and four recipients who underwent simultaneous transplant surgery. The donors were two women and two men, as were the recipients. All are recovering well following surgery, which involved a total of 32 clinicians--six of them surgeons--working between four operating rooms and took more than 10 hours to complete.
"This is a landmark surgery for our transplant team," said Joseph Leventhal, MD, PhD, transplant surgeon and director of the living donor kidney transplant program at Northwestern Memorial. "We are excited to have coordinated and successfully completed the region's first four-way exchange, and the largest paired exchange to ever occur at our hospital."
Northwestern Memorial's transplant team had previously performed what's known as a two-way paired exchange. This type of transplant is made possible when a kidney donor and their intended recipient are incompatible, but are matched with another donor and recipient in the same situation. But even paired kidney exchanges involving four patients are incredibly rare due to numerous compatibility requirements including blood type matching, tissue matching and crossmatching.
Events leading to last Thursday's "domino" exchange began to unfold when three transplant candidates came to Northwestern Memorial with donors, but all pairs discovered they were incompatible after testing. Simultaneous to these events, a Good Samaritan who always intended to be a living donor presented himself to the hospital's transplant program and offered one of his kidneys to whoever was in the greatest need.