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Author Topic: UPMC halts adult living-donor kidney transplant program  (Read 3970 times)

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UPMC halts adult living-donor kidney transplant program

Tuesday, May 10, 2011
About the writer
Luis Fabregas is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review staff writer and can be reached at 412-320-7998 or via e-mail.

UPMC has temporarily shut down its adult living-donor kidney transplant program, a spokesman said on Monday.

Paul Wood, UPMC vice president of public relations, would not say why the program was suspended, for how long or whether its suspension affected any pending surgeries. He said it was a voluntary decision and was not related to a donor or recipient death.

"There's an issue we've discovered and we've reported it to UNOS," Wood said, referring to the United Network for Organ Sharing, the agency that administers the national transplant program for the government. "We fully anticipate a resumption of cases in the very near term. We're still actively evaluating the issue of potential complications."

Adult living-donor kidney transplants represent nearly two-thirds of UPMC's kidney transplant caseload. In 2010, surgeons performed 62 adult living-donor kidney transplants, out of 90 total kidney transplants, according to UNOS data.

Although she could not address UPMC's case, Anne Paschke, a UNOS spokeswoman, told the Tribune-Review that transplant centers typically self-report problems to the agency. The UNOS patient safety system requires reporting of known or suspected donor-transmitted disease and concerns with packaging or labeling of organs for transportation, Paschke said.

Voluntary reporting is encouraged for other issues that might affect a patient or living donor safety, but those aren't specified because there could be many such possibilities, she said.

"Something's going on," said Donna Luebke, a transplant patient advocate, kidney donor and former UNOS board member. "It's very odd that a program would voluntarily suspend transplants."

Luebke, a nurse practitioner in Cleveland, said closing the program could be a positive sign because it means administrators are proactively addressing a problem.

She said transplant centers have been slow in reporting to the government data about donor outcomes and encouraged donors to become more aware of problems that can surface after giving a kidney, such as infections or hernias.

Postponing a kidney transplant is not harmful to a patient, Luebke said, because the surgery is elective. Someone experiencing kidney failure can go on dialysis while waiting for a donor, she said.

"If the transplant is next week or next month, it shouldn't matter," Luebke said. "Kidney transplants are not emergencies."

In living-donor transplants, surgeons most often use an organ from a living relative or friend of the recipient. The surgery is used as a way to address a shortage of organs from deceased donors. More than 94,000 people are registered on the national kidney transplant wait list; yet, surgeons performed only 10,622 kidney transplants in 2010, according to UNOS.

It is not known whether the program's temporary shutdown will impact the pediatric program at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, spokesman Marc Lukasiak said. Some pediatric patients receive organs from adults.

Lorraine Ryan, a spokeswoman for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said UPMC's entire transplant program is undergoing a normally scheduled review. She could not say whether the voluntary suspension of the adult living-donor kidney program was related to the review.

Read more: UPMC halts adult living-donor kidney transplant program - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/lifestyles/health/s_736223.html#ixzz1LvDjT8oD
Daughter Jenna is 31 years old and was on dialysis.
7/17 She received a kidney from a living donor.
Please email us: kidney4jenna@gmail.com
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~ We are forever grateful to her 1st donor Patrice, who gave her 7 years of health and freedom


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