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Miami Valley Hospital Participates in its First Paired Kidney Donation

A gift of life makes two lives better

(Dayton, OH) July 8, 2011 –Two patients — and their surgeons — made history at Miami Valley Hospital this week when they participated in the hospital’s first paired kidney donation. Beavercreek resident Larry Back received a healthy kidney from Georgia resident Becky Carlisle at MVH. Meanwhile, at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Becky’s husband, Richard, received a healthy kidney from Larry’s son, Charlie, who also lives in Beavercreek. All four patients are doing well.

Both Larry and Richard have been suffering from kidney disease for some time. Larry, age 70, was diagnosed with focal glomerular sclerosis in 2009, a condition in which parts of the kidneys harden, causing multiple health issues. He has been on dialysis since November 2010, receiving eight hours of treatment nightly. Richard, 67, has been on nightly dialysis for about three years. Both Larry and Richard desperately needed a new kidney in order to survive.

Healthy kidneys are essential to overall well-being. They rid the body of certain toxins, maintain the body’s balance of water and minerals and also produce a hormone that helps control blood pressure, produce red blood cells and promote bone health. Dialysis can perform some of the kidney’s functions temporarily, but it is not a long-term solution.

Patients in need of a healthy kidney have one advantage—their donated organ can come from a deceased donor or from a living donor, such as a family member or friend. That’s because the kidney is a resilient organ—living donors can survive with just one.

Unfortunately, like many patients needing a donated kidney, neither Larry nor Richard were able to find a compatible donor within their family or circle of friends. So they pursued paired kidney donation. In a paired exchange, patients with kidney failure who have willing but incompatible donors can exchange donor kidneys. In the case of the MVH patients, Larry’s 41-year-old son, Charlie, was a match for Richard, and Richard’s wife, Becky, was a match for Larry. The four individuals found each other through the Alliance for Paired Donation, which matches donors to patients using sophisticated computer software.

After learning of the match on April 7, 2011, all four patients underwent extensive testing to ensure compatibility. MVH surgeons Erik Weise, M.D., who removed Becky’s kidney, and William Rendell, M.D., who transplanted the kidney into Larry’s body, worked closely with surgeons at Piedmont Hospital to ensure that everything would go smoothly. The surgeries took place on Tuesday, July 5 — in fact, the Alliance requires simultaneous surgeries to minimize the chances of one party backing out. Becky and Charlie were released from the hospital two days later, while Larry and Richard are expected to remain hospitalized for about another week.

Although Dr. Rendell has performed more than 400 kidney transplants at MVH, this was his first paired transplant. “Whenever possible, we want to transplant a kidney from a live donor rather than a deceased donor, because that kidney is always going to be in better condition,” says Dr. Rendell, a vascular surgeon and the program director of transplantation at MVH. “However, the odds of finding a compatible kidney from a donor of any kind are extremely small. Paired donation improves a patient’s odds significantly because it connects willing donors nationwide who would otherwise have no way of helping each other.”

More than 88,000 people in America are waiting for a kidney transplant and most die before a compatible donor kidney is found. For more information about paired kidney donation, please visit the Alliance for Paired Donation website at Off Site Icon.

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