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19 March 2013 : Review article  

Current approaches in national kidney paired donation programs

Beata Mierzejewska, Magdalena Durlik, Wojciech Lisik, Caitlin Baum, Paul Schroder, Jonathan Kopke, Michael Rees, Stanislaw Stepkowski

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.889096

Ann Transplant 2013; 18:111-123


Kidney transplantation is the treatment of choice for patients with end-stage renal disease. While living donors provide anywhere from a small to a large fraction of kidneys for transplantation in different countries, at least one-third of these donors are incompatible with their potential recipients. To overcome these challenges, kidney paired donation (KPD) programs have been established that organize donor exchanges to find matches among the pool of incompatible pairs. Each program has developed its own features to accommodate local needs. Reasons for participating in KPD include blood group incompatibility, sensitization of the recipient against the donor, and the potential for improvement in transplant quality (e.g., age difference or graft size), and tissue compatibility. KPD programs use sophisticated algorithms to find matches among the pool of donor-recipient pairs to create simultaneous 2-way, 3-way, or 4-way exchanges or more complex non-simultaneous chains of transplants. These KPD allocation systems should be medically sound and ethically acceptable according to the principles of equity, utility, and justice. The variety of possible exchanges provided by these algorithms allows for maximizing the number of transplants, increasing the quality of transplants, and accommodating patients who are difficult to match. In this review, we describe several examples of successful KPD programs with diverse organizational approaches. By highlighting the strategies used by these programs to meet the needs of their patient populations, we aim to inspire improvements in existing programs and to provide a framework for expanding KPD to better serve international transplant communities.

Keywords: Kidney Transplantation, national kidney paired donation program, end-stage kidney disease

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Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358
Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358