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8 patients, 4 kidney exchanges, all in one day at Yale New Haven Hospital

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NEW HAVEN - Yale-New Haven Hospital announced today that surgical teams at the hospital performed an eight-patient, paired kidney transplant exchange on March 3. This was the first time that a kidney transplant exchange of this magnitude has ever occurred on one day in Connecticut, March is also national kidney month.

“All eight surgeries occurred on the same day and all procedures were deemed a success,” said David Mulligan, MD, director, Yale-New Haven Transplantation Center, and professor of surgery at Yale School of Medicine. “This series of living donor kidney transplants represents the largest internal kidney transplant exchange performed in Connecticut.”

All eight patients – one female donor, three married couples and one male recipient are all Connecticut residents. Altruistic donor Patricia Menno-Coveney from Mystic started the chain of events when she offered to donate her kidney. The YNHH organ transplant program utilized a computer program that matches incompatible donors with recipients with other donor and recipient pairs that are not a match. Then, the team was able to organize a chain of transplants with other donor-recipients registered with the YNHTC.

“In years past, an altruistic donor’s gift would result in providing a life-saving transplant to one fortunate person,” said Sanjay Kulkarni, MD, director of the kidney and pancreas transplant program. “Today, we were able to celebrate four life-saving transplants started with a great gift from our altruistic donors’ gift. Interestingly, all donors were female, while all recipients were male. Women have always represented a greater percentage of living kidney donors and this exchange just reinforced the important place women have in living donation.”

Ms. Menno-Coveney was found to be a match for David Rennie of Shelton. Margaret Rennie, David’s wife, donated her kidney to Raymond Murphy of Old Saybook. Sylvie Murphy, Raymond’s wife, donated a kidney to Mr. Mario Garcia from New Haven. Hilary Grant, Mario’s wife, then donated her kidney to Edward Brakoniecki of Stamford, who has waited five years for a deceased donor kidney transplant. Do you follow all of that? The eight surgeries began on a staggered schedule which started at 7:30 a.m. on March 3, with the final kidney transplanted just before 6 p.m. on the same day.

“This ground-breaking kidney exchange required an orchestrated effort among multiple teams,” said Peter Schulam, MD, professor and chair/chief of Urology at YNHH and Yale School of Medicine. “In addition to the physicians, there are numerous transplant coordinators, nurses, residents, advanced practice providers and hospital staff who played a critical role in the execution of this event. This success demonstrates the skill, collaboration and compassion of all those involved in patient care at Yale-New Haven Hospital”

As of Sept. 8, 2014, there were 123,175 people waiting for life-saving organ transplants in the United States, according to YNHH.

Doctors credit advanced technologies with the success of their surgeries. Using laparoscopic surgery, what used to require a six to eight week recovery period for living donors can now be accomplished with virtually overnight stays in the hospital and a return to full activity in as little as two to four weeks. That's good for both donors and recipients!