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WHAT IS SWAP / PAIRED EXCHANGE

What is Swap or Paired Organ Exchange Programme?

When the members of two different families fails to donate their organ to their own family member due to the reason of unmatched blood groups then there is an option called swap transplant in which they can exchange their organs with each other.

Legally, this option is very helpful during the shortfall of organs that enhances the number of organ transplant. The technique is one of its own kind which is called Swap Transplant Program. It comes into view to accomplish the vision of sharing the organ of two people who are unknown to each other but their blood groups are same.

This is what some logic with ‘paired exchange’.

Suppose there are two donor/recipient pairs, Donor and Recipient 1 and Donor and Recipient 2:

  • Donor 1 would give an organ to Recipient 2.
  • Donor 2 would then give an organ to Recipient 1

This organ paired donation transplant enables two incompatible recipients to receive healthy, more compatible organs. All medically eligible donor/recipient pairs may participate in the paired organ exchange program. For example:

In more complex cases, additional donor/recipient pairs may be used. Here is a diagram showing a three-way organ exchange.

Participating in the paired organ exchange program allows for a recipient to receive a better matched organ, and helps other individuals who would otherwise continue to wait for a matched donor. Approximately 45% of donor/recipient pairs could find a perfectly matched donor by entering the national paired organ exchange program.

How are donor/recipient pairs matched?

For many years, matching potential donor/recipient pairs were managed through the local hospital, or through partnering with area hospitals. Recently, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network started a Organ Paired Donation program that will find matching donor/recipient pairs throughout the United States. Transplant Counsellor experts anticipate that, each year, an additional 1,000 – 2,000 donations can be performed through this national program.

How long will it take to find a matching donor/recipient pair?

It can take anywhere from one month to two years to find an exchange pair. This depends on the donor/recipient antibody levels, blood type and the number of people in the database.

SWAP FOR OTHER REASON OTHER THAN BLOOD GROUP MISMATCH

Patients with kidney failure who have a family donor but the blood groups are incompatible. Patients with kidney failure who have a blood group compatible donor, but their lymphocyte cross match is positive.
Patients who have an elderly donor or a marginal donor with a compatible group can also register to get a donor who is better. For example – Mr Ahmed was on dialysis. His blood group is B. His mother was a prospective donor. Her blood group is O. He could have directly donated to his son, Mr Ahmed. But they registered for a swap transplant and get a relative young man to donate. While Mr Ahmed’s mother donated to someone else. This is possible if your marginal related donor’s blood group is O. Please consult your nephrologist or call us for details.

ROLE OF YOUR PRIMARY NEPHROLOGIST

Transplant Counsellor is only a match-making agency. Once a patient is referred to us, he would be registered and as soon as a possible swap match is generated by the database, this information would be conveyed to the 2 primary Nephrologists of the two patients. Further workup, assessment, legal formalities, organisation of the logistics of the transplant as well as the procedure of transplant would be the prerogative of these two nephrologists, in mutual consultation.

Transplant Counsellor does not participate in the actual transplant surgery and is not liable for any of the events following the generation of the match.

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