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Organ Transplant

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Types of Kidney Transplants

Living Donor Kidney Transplant

There are two types of living kidney donors: living related and living unrelated. A living related donor is someone who is a blood relative to the person receiving the transplant recipient. Living related donors are commonly a parent, child, brother, sister, aunt or uncle. A living unrelated donor has no direct blood relationship to the transplant patient A living unrelated donor may be a spouse, spouse’s family member, friend, acquaintance or co-worker.

The Organ Transplant Program at Swedish has a very active living kidney donor program. Approximately 40 to 45 percent of our kidney transplants are from living donors. We have pioneered transplants in the Northwest from living unrelated donors and are a national leader in living unrelated kidney transplantation. Through our Benevolent Community Donor program, persons have the opportunity to anonymously donate a kidney to a person in need.

The recipient’s blood type will be determined to help find a donor with a compatible blood type. Four blood types occur in humans: O, A, B or AB. The Rh factor (negative or positive) is important for blood transfusions but does not need to match between the kidney donor and the transplant recipient.

The following chart shows blood-type matching that permits organ donation:

If the Recipient's Blood type is: The Donor's Blood type must be:
A1 A
A1 A, O, or B
B O or B
AB O, A, B, or AB

Any potential living kidney donor undergoes a complete medical evaluation to make sure that the donor can live the rest of his or her life in good health with just one kidney. (See brochure: “Donating a Kidney — An Informational Guide” for more information.)

Deceased Donor Kidney Transplantation

For various reasons, many people do not have the opportunity for a living donor. However, they may be able to receive organs from deceased donors. Organs donated from deceased donors are used for about 50-60 percent of our kidney transplant recipients. Results for these recipients are excellent, but the waiting time to receive a deceased donor transplant may be months to many years.

Pediatric Transplant

The Organ Transplant Program at Swedish also offers kidney transplantation for children age 16 or older. The pediatric transplant team includes pediatric specialists in nephrology, surgery and pediatric nursing. The Organ Transplant Program and Swedish Pediatric Specialty Care coordinate the process to make sure that children and their families receive the expert medical care and emotional support necessary for a successful and positive transplant experience.

Pancreas Transplant

A patient with Type I diabetes and some carefully selected patients with Type 2 and who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 24 may wish to receive a pancreas transplant in addition to a kidney transplant. In this case, a patient would receive both a kidney and a pancreas from the same deceased donor. If the patient has already had a kidney transplant, he or she then may be able to receive a pancreas alone. Pancreas transplantation is a riskier and more complex surgery with a greater possibility for complications than kidney transplantation, so not all patients with diabetes will qualify for this type of transplant.