Sutter Health’s CPMC Performs Unique Six-Way Kidney Donation
Twelve patients at Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) made history through a unique lifesaving event this week: a six-way kidney donation transplant.
The surgically and logistically complex procedure took two days. It was the largest conducted in the CPMC Transplant Center’s 44-year existence.
Led by five dedicated, collaborative surgeons, the clinical team also included anesthesiologists, physician assistants, nurses and more than 40 other support staff.
The transplant “chain” began thanks to the giving spirit of Zully Broussard, an altruistic organ donor from the Sacramento area. She simply wanted to help and did not have a specific recipient in mind. Her generosity triggered the rare kidney swap, which matched six donors and six recipients. The swap allowed friends and family members, who couldn’t donate to their loved ones, to donate to strangers. In turn, the strangers’ loved ones donated back to the original loved ones—forming the ultimate circle of generosity.
“The significance of the altruistic donor is that it opens up possibilities for pairing compatible donors and recipients,” said Steven Katznelson, M.D., medical director of CPMC’s Kidney Transplant Program. “Where there had been only three or four options, with the inclusion of the altruistic donor, we had 140 options to consider for matching donors and recipients.”
“I lost a son to cancer and lost my husband 14 months ago,” Broussard said. “So, I know what it feels like to want an extra day and not be able to have it.”
MatchGrid, a BiologicTx paired donation kidney matching software, enabled multiple incompatible pairs of donors and recipients to find matches, using a sophisticated algorithmic program. BiologicTx Chief Technology Officer David Jacobs created the software after he underwent a kidney transplant at CPMC in 2003. At that time, he saw that many potential donors were unable to donate since they did not match friends or loved ones.
Sutter Health’s CPMC conducts 200-plus kidney transplants per year, making it one of the largest kidney transplant centers in the western United States. In 2014, the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients honored CPMC as the nation’s only hospital with both kidney and liver transplant programs that have higher-than-expected adult patient survival rates; 98.4 percent of kidney patients who received their care from CPMC survived one year after transplant, compared to the expected 96.6 percent.