Emory is Leading Site for Living Donor Kidney Transplantation

December 2013

The living donor paired kidney exchange program of the Emory Transplant Center has successfully matched and subsequently transplanted 100% of the donor/recipient pairs enrolled in the National Kidney Registry (NKR), a national organization formed in 2008 to facilitate living donor transplantation. Emory is tied with Johns Hopkins for a 100% rate and first place among U.S. transplant centers with the highest match rates. However, Emory has been with the program a year and has transplanted more patients than Johns Hopkins, which joined several months ago.

In paired kidney donation exchange, people can donate a kidney to a friend or loved one despite incompatible blood matches. The process involves a donor and recipient being matched with another incompatible donor and recipient pair, and the kidneys being exchanged between the pairs. Emory's membership in the NKR has considerably widened the donor-recipient pool to encompass the entire nation, and allows participation in swaps or "chains" that involve multiple patients and transplant programs across the U.S.

The Emory program's perfect score is a remarkable achievement because no Emory patient has had to wait more than six months for a match. A quick and accurate match benefits transplant outcomes, extends kidney and patient survival rates, and improves the recipient's chance of a quality life.

"We are extremely fortunate to have a very skilled and dedicated team, including our transplant nephrology colleagues, coordinators, managers, physicians, and leaders," says Dr. Nicole Turgeon, surgical director of the paired donor exchange program. "Most importantly, we could not do this without patients who have been willing to participate in the NKR program." Eighteen patients have received kidney transplants through the NKR since Emory joined the network.

The NKR is the leader in paired donor exchange transplantation with the mission to save and improve lives by increasing the quality, speed, and number of living donor transplants in the U.S.