Philip Lindgren needed a kidney transplant to replace his failing kidneys and free him from dialysis. His wife, Susan, wanted to give her kidney to him, but they have unmatched blood types, making such a donation impossible.
Last week, the Rancho Cucamonga couple both received their wish as they participated in what could become the largest paired-kidney donation chain in the nation. It is the first time for Loma Linda University Medical Center to participate in the program, which is meant to save more lives.
Under the program coordinated by the National Kidney Registry, an incompatible kidney donation pair is matched with another incompatible living-donor pair in another part of the country. So far, 15 pairs of people throughout the country have received or donated kidneys in the chain that the Lindgren’s were on, and which is still ongoing.
“I would absolutely do it again,” said Susan Lindgren, whose kidney was given to someone in Philadelphia. “I am thinking of another couple in Philadelphia who is feeling as we do; we are very happy that somebody out there has done something to save my husband.”
“Now we can look forward to growing old together,” said Philip Lindgren, who received a kidney from a donor in Chicago.
With increased demand and a shortage of donated kidneys, the situation is dire for many waiting to receive a kidney transplant. The wait for a kidney is about eight years, with many patients succumbing to their disease long before a kidney from a deceased donor becomes available. Some people choose to become living donors – donating one of their kidneys while they are still alive — for altruistic reasons, or to help their friends or loved ones.
“We are delighted to have facilitated Loma Linda’s first paired exchange through our program. Their participation in our national network of over 50 hospitals is helping many hard to match patients get transplanted,” said Joe Sinacore, Director of Research and Education at National Kidney Registry. “Loma Linda’s patient participated in a donor chain that has completed 15 transplants so far. It has the potential of becoming the longest donor chain in history, with 17 additional transplant currently in the works. Several of the participants in this chain have over 99 PRA (panel reactive antibody), which means they would match with less than one out of 100 potential donors in the general population.”
“Being a living donor is a best gift that you can give to someone,” said Loma Linda University Medical Center transplant surgeon Dr. Pedro Baron, who presented a certificate of recognition to Mrs. Lindgren for her decision to donate her kidney. Dr. Arputharaj Kore, a fellow transplant surgeon, said the Mrs. Lindren’s decision helped her husband, the recipient of her kidney, and someone else on the kidney waiting list, who now moves up on the list.
Courtesy of Loma Linda University Medical Center