Transplant innovation gives hope to those in need - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/18/09

Transplant innovation gives hope to those in need

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It might sound like something you would see on the television show "ER", but surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital are hoping it is the wave of the future- a 6-way multi-center transplant.  Dr. Robert Montgomery of Johns Hopkins orchestrated this complex swap involving 12-patients at three different hospitals.  Dr. Montgomery says, "Essentially what we do is mix and match and find an organ from a pool of people who have that problem.  It's just like a line of dominos.  If they don't all tumble, the ones at the end are left standing."

Dr. Montgomery found five pairs of people, each consisting of someone in need of a kidney and a relative who wanted to donate, but was incompatible.  Then, Montgomery realigned the pairs to find a match for four of the recipients.  A stranger donated a fifth kidney and a sixth recipient was chosen from the national waiting list.  That makes 12-patients in all and all were linked from one to the next, with the surgeries timed precisely because three of the kidneys were flown across the country.

It was a Valentine's Day swap, but the news was only released Wednesday and all of the patients are healing well.  Now, Johns Hopkins officials say that if more hospitals would orchestrate these multi-patient procedures, an additional 1500-transplants could be performed every year.

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