Satish N. Nadig, M.D., Ph.D., surgical director of the pediatric and living donor transplant programs at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), discusses the advantages of a new kind of kidney chain, one in which all participants – from the altruistic donor to the final (often pediatric) recipient — are MUSC patients. Kidney chains are typically arranged through national registries, and MUSC has been and continues to be active in this sort of kidney chain. However, as Dr. Nadig explains, developing kidney chains that are entirely internal to MUSC helps make more kidneys from living donors available to adult and pediatric patients in South Carolina and helps reduce cold time.
Kidney chains offer a novel way to overcome the obstacle of “matching” in living donor transplants. Often, a family member is willing to donate a kidney, but the kidney is not a good match for the intended recipient. A kidney chain is initiated when an altruistic donor agrees to give a kidney to a well-matched, unknown recipient who has a willing but unmatched donor. That unmatched donor of the first recipient then offers his or her kidney to an unknown, matched recipient, and the chain continues as logistics allow until it ends with a final recipient, often a pediatric patient.