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Format: 04/18/2014
Format: 04/18/2014


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Paired kidney exchange attracts VA
Growing practice may be allowed at four hospitals that do transplants
Monday, May 17, 2010
By Sean D. Hamill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sometime in the next month, more than 600 veterans waiting for kidney transplants at VA hospital transplant centers in Pittsburgh and three other locations across the country could have a new option for finding an organ match.

William Gunnar, national director of surgery for the Veterans Health Administration, said he is reviewing the idea of letting the four VA hospitals that do kidney transplants -- in Pittsburgh, Nashville, Iowa City and Portland -- join the still novel but growing practice known as paired kidney exchange.

He said he has asked his staff for ethical and legal reviews of the concept before deciding how the VA will proceed, and he expects to have the review completed this month.

"My hope is that I'd be able to provide clarity to the transplant centers on these issues," said Dr. Gunnar.

In a paired kidney exchange, a person who has a friend or relative who wants to donate, but who is not a match, either because of blood type or antibody incompatibility, can donate to someone else. Then that person's friend or relative donates to a pool of recipients, which hopefully creates a chain of new kidney transplants.

Last month, Allegheny General Hospital took part in one of the largest paired kidney exchange chains ever, with two of its patients getting new kidneys as part of an exchange in which a total of 12 people got new kidneys.


To read more, visit the Post-Gazette website


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