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Are You Waiting for a Kidney Transplant? Living Donors Bring Hope – Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic

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If you’re waiting for a kidney transplant, you already know about the daunting stats: 100,000 patients on the wait list and a three- to five-year wait, on average, for a kidney from a deceased donor.

But each year, hundreds of transplant patients get off the wait list in a fraction of the time. They find compatible living donors — in people they never met — through the National Kidney Registry (NKR).

“We recommend the NKR to almost any patient needing a kidney transplant,” says Stuart Flechner, MD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Kidney Transplant Program. “If they have an otherwise willing donor but are not a match, the NKR may be able to help.”

Since 2011, Cleveland Clinic has done 34 kidney transplants (and counting). This wouldn’t have happened without the NKR.

Making a good trade

Here’s how it works:

  1. A patient who needs a kidney transplant finds anyone willing to donate a kidney — even if they’re not a match due to incompatible blood type or antibodies.
  2. Both patient and donor get evaluated by a transplant center that is an NKR member. If approved by the center, they are entered into the NKR’s computerized database.
  3. The NKR orchestrates a kidney swap. The willing donor’s kidney goes to a compatible patient. The original patient receives a compatible kidney from another donor. Exchanges are made among patients all over the United States.

Participants most often trade kidneys in pairs. However, occasionally, a volunteer donor will set off a chain of transplants. Each recipient must have a partner donor who “pays it forward” by contributing a kidney to the chain.

In 2015, 35 people received kidneys from 35 donors in the U.S.’s longest kidney transplant chain to date.

Everybody wins

“Kidney exchange is a win for everyone,” says Dr. Flechner. “The better the match, the more likely the success of the transplant. And kidneys from living donors tend to provide better outcomes than those from deceased donors.”

More living donor transplants will free deceased donor kidneys for others, making the wait list move faster.

“Finding the right kidney for you is a community effort,” says Dr. Flechner. “The NKR brings that community together. Any altruistic kidney donor should consider starting a chain through the NKR to help as many patients as possible.”

Improved transplant drugs benefiting kidney recipients – WTNH

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Improved drugs are making a huge difference in kidney transplants. They are now better able to help prevent the body from rejecting a donated kidney.
On average, a donated kidney off the list can last 10 to 13 years. A live donor’s can last even longer.

John Lavin is on his second donated kidney after the first lasted 13 years. Once a month, he goes to the transplant center at Yale-New Haven Hospital to get his anti-rejection drug, intravenously. Lavin was 12-years old when his health deteriorated. 

“It was basically as a result of strep throat that had traveled to my kidneys,” he said.

His sister donated his first kidney. His brother gave him his second one, which has lasted nearly 18 years.

“I’m going to try to do as much as I can to make it last as long as possible,” Lavin said.

Over time, the body rejects kidneys that are not a perfect match, which is the case for John. But, he is benefiting from advancements of transplant drugs.

“Newer and better immune drugs that prevent the body from rejecting the organ, but also don’t have the side effects,” said Dr. Margaret Bia, John’s transplant surgeon. “If they got a kidney from somebody on the list, there was a 50-50 chance it would work, and now the rejection episode is down below 10-percent, below 5-percent.”

Still, there are not enough donors for the amount of people who need a kidney.

“Whether it’s a cadaver or whether it’s a living donor, they need donors and that is what keeps people on dialysis for so many years because they can’t find a donor,” said Karen Corbin, National Kidney Foundation.

Lavin does what he can to raise awareness. He is chair of this year’s Fairfield County Kidney Walk. Look for his team, Transplant Trotters.

A third transplant is likely.

“It’s one of those, ‘I’ll try not to get there, but I’ve been through it twice now already so we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,’” said John.

His health has improved since going on the IV anti-rejection kidney drug. His cholesterol and sugar levels have come down and he is no longer on diabetes medication.

The Fairfield County Kidney Walk is Saturday, May 16 at Calf Pasture Beach. Check-in time is 9:30 a.m. and start time is 10:30 a.m. For more information, click here, or contact Rob Gerowe at (203) 439-7912 or

Alberta doctors complete liver transplant on Yukon baby –

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Six-month-old Emmett Smith and his father Michael are recovering in Edmonton’s Stollery Children’s Hospital after liver transplant surgery.  

Emmett Smith has a rare form of liver cancer. His father Michael Smith was recently identified as a compatible donor and agreed to have part of his liver transplanted.

Mother Charlotte Francis says she can now breathe a sigh of relief. 

“This morning I am feeling relieved and a little less stressed. The boy’s surgery went well,” she said.

Emmett has been undergoing chemotherapy related to liver cancer since January.

According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, about 400 liver transplants are accomplished across Canada every year but it’s far more rare to see the procedure attempted in infants and young children.  

Yukoners and people across Canada have been following Emmett’s progress online. A Facebook group called “Baby Emmett Smith” has more than 280 members.

Advanced melanoma risk greater in organ transplant recipients compared with … – Healio

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Krynitz B, et al. J Am Acad Dermatol 2015;doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2015.03.045.
May 11, 2015

Organ transplant recipients had a greater risk of advanced melanomas at diagnosis and melanoma-specific death compared with the general population, according to recently published study results.

In a nationwide, population-based study, researchers identified 49 melanomas in organ transplant recipients (OTRs) and 22,496 melanomas in the general public through Swedish health care registries. Patients had been diagnosed between 1984 and 2008; follow-up was through Dec. 31, 2012.

The researchers reviewed tumor slides of post-transplantation melanomas and calculated the odds ratios (ORs) for comparison of histopathological characteristics and hazard ratios (HRs) of melanoma-specific death.

Men made up the majority of patients with post-transplantation melanoma (71%), and the kidney the most commonly transplanted organ (84%). The trunk was the most common location of melanomas among the OTRs. Melanocytic nevus had a histological association with 73% of the OTR melanomas, whereas 63% of the OTRs had melanomas that were atypical or dysplastic.


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Generic Transplant Drugs Are Fine, But Patients Still Worry – Science 2.0

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By News Staff | May 10th 2015 08:30 AM

Generic drugs are the same as a name brand. The only difference is that a generic company does not research or clinical trials and since the product is outside patent, they only have the cost of manufacturing, so costs are lower and the product is cheaper.

Yet we are increasingly in a precautionary principle world, in everything from vaccines to food, so it is little surprise that patients prefer name brand drugs more. Though large pharmaceutical companies are being attacked in a culture war, they are still considered more trustworthy than a generic, which most people equate with lower quality materials.

But even with post-transplant drugs, there is no difference yet with it comes to generic formulations of tacrolimus, a drug used to lower the risk of organ rejection, patients prefer a name brand even though more than 70 percent of tacrolimus dispensed is generic–with no consistent negative reports.

The findings were presented by lead investigator Rita Alloway, PharmD, UC research professor of medicine and director of transplant clinical research within the UC Department of Internal Medicine, and her study collaborators at the 2015 American Transplant Congress annual meeting in Philadelphia.

Funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the study was a prospective, blinded, six-way crossover study in kidney and liver transplant patients. It tested whether the two most disparate generics, based on potency, purity and dissolution (“Generic Hi” and “Generic Lo”), are bioequivalent to the drug tacrolimus (Prograf) in stable transplant patients.

The researchers analyzed a total of 70 patients who were transplanted at either University of Cincinnati Medical Center or The Christ Hospital (Cincinnati) transplant programs. Patients were given brand name tacrolimus or one of two generic versions.

“We found there to be essentially no difference in the formulations between the generics and brand-name version,” says Alloway. “In other words, if you were on brand and switched to generic–and you take your medication as instructed–there should be no clinical consequence.”


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The ‘breathing’ lung transplant: New machine that keeps organ working outside … – Daily Mail

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  • Extraordinary breakthrough could save the lives of hundreds of patients
  • Experts say it could double annual number of lung transplants performed
  • Works by keeping lungs in effectively same conditions as they are in body
  • Will be put into practice at London hospital Royal Brompton and Harefield

A British hospital is using cutting-edge medical technology to keep lungs ‘breathing’ outside the body for as long as 24 hours.

The extraordinary breakthrough could save the lives of hundreds of patients.

Medical experts say the technique could double the number of lung transplants that take place each year.

Tried and tested: The breathing lung transplant new machine that keeps organ wokring outside the body for up to 24 hours

It is being put into practice at London hospital the Royal Brompton and Harefield, which last year introduced another technique which can help keep donor hearts alive.

Donor organs have commonly been placed in a cool box and packed in ice to stop them deteriorating when being transported between hospitals before transplantation surgery.

This method allows the organs to remain outside the body for a maximum of six hours. 

Optimistic: Medical experts say the technique could double the number of lung transplants that take place each year

Optimistic: Medical experts say the technique could double the number of lung transplants that take place each year

But the groundbreaking Organ Care System (OCS) can keep the donor lungs breathing for a full day. 

The OCS machine works by keeping the lungs in effectively the same conditions they would be in the body.

The lungs are placed in a portable sealed plastic box with a pump inside that provides a constant supply of blood to the organ.

A ventilator in the container inflates and deflates the lungs.

Medical experts say this ‘breathing lung’ technology can improve the organ’s condition. 

It also opens the possibility that lungs could be transported long distances, and still be in a good enough state for transplantation at the end of the journey.

At present – due to damage during surgery and transportation – just 20 per cent of lungs from donors are suitable to be used.

Andre Simon, head of transplant surgery at the Royal Brompton and Harefield, has now carried out 12 transplants using OCS.

He said: ‘Organs were never meant to be frozen on ice. Previously we had no alternative. 

‘But this can quadruple the length of time an organ can be kept before transplant, potentially doubling the number of surgeries and revolutionising lung transplantation.’

His patient Michael Tubbs, 26, who benefited from the new technology, said: ‘If this can help more people get lungs it would be amazing. 

‘I am aware how lucky I am and that young people are dying waiting for new lungs.’




One year after receiving heart transplant, boy celebrates ‘heartiversary’ – Chicago Daily Herald

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Owen Payton turned 9 in March, but the date of May 8, 2014 will always have special meaning for him and his family.

Friday marked one year since Owen received a lifesaving heart transplant, and his family thought it fitting to name their party in his honor a “heartiversary.”

The celebration at the Paytons, who near West Chicago, also honored of the unknown donor who provided Owen with a new heart.

“Every day, we’re thankful and grateful,” said Christina Payton, Owen’s mother. “We’re just celebrating life today.”

Payton said the family doesn’t know who the donor is, but they will be writing a letter to the transplant center where Owen received the heart.

They hope to contact the donor’s family to express their gratitude.

The Payton family is also planning to plant a tree in their backyard this weekend in honor of the donor.

On Friday, the crimson king maple sat in their yard, with three heart balloons attached to it.

Owen was on a heart transplant list for more than two years — after he had already undergone three open heart surgeries since being born with multiple congenital heart defects.

He was placed on the transplant waiting list in March 2012, after being previously diagnosed with protein-losing enteropathy.

Doctors told the family to be prepared to get a phone call anytime if a good heart became available.

“The team said, ‘You need to be ready and have your bags packed,'” Payton said. “To be quite honest, we weren’t ready. We weren’t prepared. We thought we wouldn’t get the call, so we didn’t pack any bags.

“For two years, every day, we had to live by the phone.”

Then, the call came.

Owen was at school, and his parents were at work, but they rushed to Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. After some last-minute preparations, Owen’s heart transplant took place the next day.

And since then, he’s been doing great, his mom says.

“It’s been a blessing.”

10 years later, Ferrysburg girl still thriving after triple organ transplant – Fox17

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POSTED 6:30 PM, MAY 8, 2015, BY , UPDATED AT 11:16PM, MAY 8, 2015

FERRYSBURG, Mich., — Next month, Jasmine Dombroswki will turn twelve, but she is already celebrating another special milestone. Ten years ago, the fifth-grader underwent triple organ transplant surgery, receiving a new liver, small bowel and pancreas.

“Chances of getting that, just aren’t good. Being able to get all three of them for an infant, that would fit her as well and her blood type…But it worked, so we got really lucky,” said Stacy Allen, Jasmine’s mother. “Now it’s 10 years later and she’s still doing perfect, with no signs of rejection in any three of her organs.

Jasmine was born two months premature, weighing just over two pounds. Within weeks of the delivery, her mother learned Jasmine had developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis, a condition that caused portions of the bowel to die and need to be removed.

“She had to have so much of hers taken out that she needed to have a transplant,” explained Allen. “When we were sent home, she was on the transplant list.”

After five and half months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the family had to now wait for the call that could save Jasmine’s life. It came on January, 17, 2005, when Jasmine was exactly one and a half years old.

The family flew to Omaha where Jasmine underwent surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The family has since learned the donor was a little boy, but due to transplant protocol, much of the other information, including his identity has been kept anonymous.

Allen has tried to express her gratitude to the donor’s family with a letter.

“Writing a note like that is heart wrenching, because they had to lose their kid in order to save mine,” she said.

To celebrate the 10 year milestone, Stacy and Jasmine are planning to return to Omaha in July for the Nebraska Medical Center’s annual transplant reunion. The event brings together hundreds of patients, along with transplant surgeons and staff.

Jasmine said her message to the doctors who saved her life, would simply be “thanks”.

The 11-year-old still has the scars from the surgery and feeding tube that she had to use for years, but now she is eating on her own and  healthy.

“She’s a miracle, everybody tells her, she is such a miracle baby,” said Allen. “When she gets older, she’ll understand everything she’s been through since birth, and she’ll understand she’s a miracle baby.”

A family member has created a GoFundMe account to help the family raise money for travel expenses.

If you’d like to learn more, or donate, click here.

Winona Lake boy with kidney failure receives transplant from mother – WNDU-TV

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By: Karina E. Flores

This is a wonderful update to a story we’ve been following about a little Winona Lake boy in need of a kidney transplant.

We first told you about 2-year-old Myles Bartley last year.

Myles was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure shortly after he was born. His parents, Sarah and Shawn, were giving him kidney dialysis at home.

Without a kidney transplant, the future looked grim.

On Thursday, NewsCenter 16’s Maureen McFadden heard from Sarah, who explained that she and Myles underwent surgery on Wednesday in Indianapolis where he received one of her kidneys.

She said they are both doing well and hope to be back home in Winona Lake soon.

We send our thoughts and good wishes to mom, Myles and the family, and we’ll bring you an update when they get home.

Warren County teen undergoes kidney transplant surgery – WLWT Cincinnati

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5:04 PM EDT May 07, 2015

Mackenzie Gilbert has polycystic kidney disease and is scheduled for a kidney transplant Thursday morning. Her donor, Kelley Fitzgerald, is a close childhood friend of Gilbert’s mother, Robin Gilbert.

Warren County teen preparing for kidney transplant

Mackenzie Gilbert has polycystic kidney disease and is scheduled for a kidney transplant Thursday morning. Her donor, Kelley Fitzgerald, is a close childhood friend of Gilbert’s mother, Robin Gilbert.

Thursday was a big day for Warren County teen Mackenzie Gilbert.

She underwent a life-saving kidney transplant.

Kelley Fitzgerald, a family friend, stepped up to donate her kidney.

Fitzgerald will undergo surgery at UC Medical Center, and 17-year-old Gilbert will receive the transplant at Children’s Hospital.

The hospital had to write a new policy to make the surgery happen. You can see the full story here

The last update was that surgery went well and donor and recipient were doing well.

Fitzgerald is expected to be released from the hospital Friday night.

Gilbert will stay in the intensive care unit until Monday.


Inspiration + Education : . . . . for parents of children who are going through transplant

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