Three receive kidney transplants in latest live donor chain at UC Irvine Medical Center

UC Irvine Health team conducted Orange County's first kidney transplant chain with an altruistic donor last year

February 26, 2015

Three Orange County people have received kidney transplants at UC Irvine Medical Center thanks to the altruism of an anonymous donor.

The donation started a three-way donor chain in which two people who were not tissue-compatible with their loved ones could offer their kidneys to others who suffered from end-stage renal failure and were tissue matches.

“Three people received transplants that would not have happened without the generosity of one altruistic donor,” says Dr. Clarence Foster III, director of the UC Irvine Health Kidney Transplant Program. He said one of the recipients had medical complications that made identifying a suitable kidney “like finding a needle in a haystack.”

Foster says the donors and recipients are doing well several weeks after he and Dr. Hirohito Ichii recovered the organs and transplanted them over two days.

Designated living donors have become more common in recent years as family members or friends who are a tissue match donate organs to loved ones.  More rare are donors with no connection to someone in need of a transplant but who chooses to donate to a stranger. Such unspecified donors, as they are called in the transplant community, can spark a chain that gives the gift of life to many more people.

This month’s set of transplants is Orange County’s second matched donor chain. Last year, Foster transplanted a donated kidney into a woman who had spent eight years on dialysis while waiting for an organ to become available. Her transplant became possible when an anonymous Yorba Linda man donated a kidney that was a match for a Huntington Beach resident. That recipient’s spouse could then donate a kidney that was matched and subsequently transplanted into the long-term dialysis patient. 

More than 100,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for a kidney to become available. At UC Irvine Health transplant specialists have been providing kidney transplants to patients with end-stage kidney disease for more than 40 years. A comprehensive range of transplant services is available, including living kidney donations.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call the UC Irvine Health Kidney Transplant program at 714-456-8441.

UC Irvine Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UC Irvine Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 412-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 14 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and is the primary teaching hospital for UC Irvine School of Medicine. UC Irvine Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. Located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities, it’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy.


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