Yale New Haven Hospital successfully participates in three-hospital, six-patient kidney swap

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), in partnership with the University of Toledo Medical Center of Toledo, OH, and the Maine Medical Center of Portland, ME, as well as the New England Organ Bank and the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), successfully transplanted three kidneys among six patients across all three hospitals on Dec. 19, 2013.

All six patients across the three hospitals are doing extremely well.

View the press conference

"This is our patient's third kidney transplant since he came to YNHH as a toddler two decades ago," noted Peter Yoo, MD, director, paired organ exchange program at Yale New Haven Hospital and assistant professor of surgery, Yale University School of Medicine. "After each kidney transplant, subsequent matches become increasingly unlikely. By the time our patient needed a third transplant, his blood was just about impossible to match — we found him to be incompatible with over 99% of all donors."

Similarly, the recipients at the other two centers were also difficult to match, but like Ryan, they had donors who wanted to give the gift of kidney donation. YNHH was able to match the kidneys and recipients through a centralized, nationwide search.

"Successful execution of cases like this one require extraordinary resources and logistic coordination, not only on our end, but also at our partner institutions and UNOS," continued Dr. Yoo. "Five years ago, this kind of work was totally unheard of in Connecticut. Today, we are on our way to offering paired organ exchanges to our patients as a matter of routine."

The two patients at Yale New Haven are from Danbury, CT. Rolando Dasilva donated one of his kidneys to a patient at the Toledo Medical Center. Ryan Dasilva, in need of his third kidney, received it from an altruistic donor at the Maine Medical Center. Sanjay Kulkarni, MD, director, kidney & pancreas transplantation, was the YNHH surgeon who removed Rolando's kidney. Dr. Yoo surgically transplanted Ryan's new kidney. Typically kidney removal take about two hours while transplantation surgery can take up to two and a half hours.

Rolando Dasilva's kidney was picked at YNHH at 9:45 a.m., and was delivered to the University of Toledo Medical Center at 4:45 p.m. Ryan Dasilva's new kidney departed Portland, ME at 12:45 p.m. and was delivered to YNHH at 4:30 p.m. The kidney going from Toledo to Portland was picked up at 11:48 a.m. and delivered at 4:15 p.m. Ryan Dasliva's successful recipient surgery began at 5 p.m. and concluded by 10 p.m.

"Kidney paired donation is currently the only way to increase the total numbers of kidney transplants performed in this country because the number of deceased donors as not changed," said Richard Formica, MD, director , transplant medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital, associate professor of medicine and surgery at the Yale University School of Medicine and chairman of the UNOS/OPTN kidney transplantation committee. "More importantly, because of this recent exchange, and most significantly because of the generosity of an altruistic donor in Maine, there are three people that are now enjoying the benefits of live donor kidney transplantation. Additionally, because these three recipients were also waiting for a deceased donor transplant, there are three people who will receive a deceased donor transplant who otherwise would not have."

The Dasilva family has been extremely active in organ transplantation for a very long time. Ryan's mother, Priscilla, donated one of her kidneys to Ryan when he was three years old. When Ryan needed a replacement kidney, his brother Rolando Jr. was the matching donor back in 2004. Each member of the Dasilva family has only one kidney.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, there are approximately 118,617 people waiting for lifesaving organ transplants in the United States. Of these, 96,645 await kidney transplants. Last year, 16,812 kidney transplants took place in the United States, with 11,043 kidney transplants coming from deceased donors and 5,769 came from living donors.

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH), part of Yale New Haven Health, is a nationally recognized, 1,541-bed, not-for-profit hospital serving as the primary teaching hospital for the Yale School of Medicine (YSM). Founded as the fourth voluntary hospital in the U.S. in 1826, today, YNHH has two New Haven-based campuses, and also includes Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and Smilow Cancer Hospital. YNHH has received Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the nation’s highest honor of nursing excellence. YNHH has a combined medical staff of about 4,500 university and community physicians practicing in more than 100 specialties.