US surgeons perform unprecedented kidney swap on nine individuals

In a procedure not undertaken before, doctors had facilitated a kidney transplant chain among nine different individuals beginning yesterday, in San Francisco. According to WTSP News, doctors had reported no complications and all patients were doing fine.

It started with patient Reid Moran-Haywood, when doctors at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center removed one of his kidneys and cautiously transported it to another patient at the California Pacific Medical Center. A partnership between the two hospitals had made the swap possible. Advanced matching software was used to connect compatible recipients with their donors.

Dr Robert Osorio, the director of transplantation at CPMC, said the larger the denominator and choices one had potentially the more transplants one could get done.

One of the pairs in the swap was married to each other, with the husband incompatible as a donor with his wife. He therefore donated his kidney to a separate patient and in return for his donation, the wife was paired with a compatible donor.

Moran-Haywood, an avid runner from Napa, started the chain when he was unable to successfully donate to a friend this past fall and it was not until recently that he was able to find a matching recipient.

Surgeons at the hospitals were able to complete 10 surgeries involving five donors and five recipients on Thursday and were on track yesterday to finish the final eight surgeries for four donor-recipient pairs in what was considered to be the longest kidney transplant chain performed in one city in such a short period of time.

What added to the logistical hurdles of so many surgeries was the fact that kidneys had to be ferried back and forth between the two hospitals. Two kidneys were sent from California Pacific to UCSF via a special organ transport service while two kidneys were sent from UCSF to California Pacific for a total of four, 3-mile trips, while two trips were made on Thursday.

''Everything went as planned and our team is just getting to transport the very last one,'' according to Noel Sanchez, spokesman for Donor Network West, late last afternoon. The Oakland company specialised in packaging and transporting organs.

Over 101,000 people in the US were waiting for a kidney due to a variety of health conditions that lead to renal failures.