Wednesday, April 09, 2008

First Ever Sextuple Kidney Transplants

12 People, 6 Donor-Recipient Pairs, Interchange Kidneys in Simultaneous Group Procedure

From ASCRIBE Public Interest Newswire:

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., April 9 (AScribe Newswire) -- A Bay Area couple participated in an historic kidney swap Saturday, April 5, at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Jeanne Heise, a Peninsula resident, has suffered from kidney disease for more than 30 years and was about to go on dialysis as her kidneys shut down. Her husband, Randy Bolten, brother of Josh Bolten, White House Chief of Staff to George W. Bush, wanted to donate one of his kidneys to his wife, but their blood and/or tissues were incompatible.

"I feel great," said Jeanne Heise, just days after the surgery. "Living organ donation and this type of group surgery offers hope to many people in need," continued Heise.

"Johns Hopkins has performed similar group surgeries, but none with this large number of recipients and donors," said her husband, Randy Bolten. "Jeanne received a compatible kidney, I helped someone else by donating one of my kidneys to a person in the group, everybody wins," he continued.

Surgical teams began the marathon surgeries - the first six-way donor kidney swap among 12 individuals and largest group transplant procedure ever to take place - early Saturday morning, April 5, and occupied six operating rooms staffed by nine surgical teams.

The transplant candidates each had a willing donor whose blood and/or tissue types were not compatible with the intended recipient and who therefore could not donate to their loved one. Using a previously developed living donor matching system, the Johns Hopkins transplant team arranged a six-way swap, in which all six candidates received compatible kidneys from someone they had never met.

"We want to spread the word about this sort of group surgery and living organ donation. The waiting list for a kidney is very long and too many people die while waiting. With this group procedure, more and more people can beat kidney disease and live long productive lives," said Heise. "We support the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of Northern California and Northern Nevada because they assist thousands affected by kidney disease and help many more learn about organ donation," continued Heise. "I want all kidney patients to feel as good as I do now, and they can if people become living donors," she concluded.

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