PHOENIX — Mayo Clinic in Arizona has completed its 2,000th kidney transplant since the program opened in 1999 – a milestone that places the program among the 10 largest kidney transplant programs in the U.S. The 2,000th patient, a 24-year-old man from Arizona, received a kidney from a deceased donor and was recuperating well following the two-hour surgery at Mayo Clinic Hospital.
Of the 2,000 kidney transplants completed, nearly half were from living donors; a family member, friend, colleague or even an anonymous donor who agreed to donate a kidney. The donor's kidney is removed laparoscopically, a procedure in which surgeons place a thin tube with a camera into small incisions in the abdomen. This results in shorter waiting times for the recipient and significantly smaller incisions and less post-operative pain for the living donor.
Mayo Clinic was the first medical center in Arizona to perform a laparoscopic donor kidney removal.
Mayo Clinic also uses the paired kidney exchange program to increase the pool of available kidneys. In this process, a donor leads an exchange of organs among strangers who are a match. In the past, a patient who could not connect with a compatible living donor would have to wait for an organ from a deceased donor. The exchange program helps address the shortage of organs from deceased donors by finding a matching living donor for the patient. Since 2008, Mayo Clinic in Arizona has performed 41 kidney transplants through the paired kidney exchange program.
Mayo's kidney transplant program is successful because of a dedicated and integrated team of specialists "who put the patients above all else," says Raymond Heilman, M.D., chair of Nephrology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. He also credits the living donors and families of deceased donors.
"Our work with Donor Network of Arizona is critical to the success of the program. It is their dedication and educational programs about the importance of organ donation that keeps the message in the mainstream," Dr. Heilman says. "More and more people are saying 'yes' to the generous and important gift of life."
Kunam Reddy, M.D., Transplant Surgery, Mayo Clinic in Arizona, lauded the transplant team for their success in reaching the 2,000th kidney milestone. "We can credit our skilled and dedicated team for having the vision and passion for serving so many patients with kidney failure. Our hope is that our success will motivate more people to make the decision to become organ donors and to save even more lives."
Mayo Clinic, through its campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota, performs more transplants than anyone else in the U.S.
Nearly 97,000 people in the U.S. are awaiting a kidney transplant, including approximately 2,000 in Arizona.