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Board approves living donor kidney programs

Published on: Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Orlando, Fla. - At its meeting November 16-17, the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors approved 236 living donor kidney transplant programs that met criteria for key personnel and enhancing living donor safety. Each of these programs had been approved previously under more general standards for kidney transplant programs.

"Living donor transplantation is in many ways similar to the deceased donor transplant process, but there should be specially trained and experienced staff to ensure the highest level of safety for living donors," said James Wynn, M.D., president of the OPTN and UNOS and chair of the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors.

The OPTN/UNOS Membership and Professional Standards Committee reviewed applicant programs to ensure their compliance with the new standards, which were adopted in 2007. A similar process was followed previously to designate living donor liver transplant programs.

In other action relating to living donor transplants, the Board adopted new policies for duplicate testing and verification of the living donor's blood type and subtype to ensure compatibility with the recipient's blood type. The Board also approved a new resource document describing medical evaluation of potential living liver donors, as well as an addition to an existing resource document offering guidance for informed consent of living donors. The additional language includes recommended disclosure to potential donors that the sale or purchase of organs is a federal crime, but that in certain cases living donors may be reimbursed for limited travel expenses and may receive subsistence assistance.

In addition, the Board accepted a series of updates and revisions to policies governing the packaging, labeling and transportation of organs, blood vessels and tissue typing materials. The revisions were developed to clarify existing policy language and ensure it represents current and best practices.

The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) is operated under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The OPTN brings together medical professionals, transplant recipients and donor families to develop organ transplantation policy.