UMMC Participates in Longest Kidney Swap Chain in US History

For immediate release: April 15, 2015

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Four patients from the University of Maryland Medical Center participated in the nation’s longest paired kidney exchange chain in history. The chain, made possible by the National Kidney Registry, will include 35 recipients and 35 living donors when completed, and included transplant centers from across the country. The story of this national chain was featured in an ABC Nightline special, including a brother and sister pair from Maryland. 

LaTwanya Goslee of Salisbury, Maryland donated a kidney to save her brother, Charles Muse, of Gwynn Oak. Charles’ high blood pressure caused his native kidneys to fail years ago, requiring his first transplant at UMMC with a kidney from his mother. When that kidney eventually failed, LaTwanya stepped forward to be tested as a donor.

As the mother of four, a dance instructor and IRS employee, LaTwanya already had a hectic life. But the thorough testing required for living donation added an additional layer of complexity. It took nearly three years for LaTwanya to be approved as a living donor due to questionable test results that required additional evaluation before getting clearance. 

Charles and LaTwanya were not a match for his transplant, so they entered the Paired Kidney Exchange program at UMMC. Paired Kidney Exchange helps living donors who are not a match for their loved one to donate a kidney to a stranger and in return, receive a better matched kidney for their loved one. It’s a win-win for all parties and can mean that kidneys are shipped from across the country to get to the best-matched recipient. 

"Paired kidney exchange enables us to find matches for patients who can't receive a kidney from someone they know, or who may be difficult to match," said David Leeser, MD, associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and chief of kidney and pancreas transplantation at the University of Maryland Medical Center. "Our partnership with the National Kidney Registry has produced more options for our patients to get transplanted because we have access to living donors not just from our center but from around the country."

Swaps of this size require precise coordination and logistics management by the transplant coordinators. Charles’ kidney ultimately came from a hospital in South Carolina, and LaTwanya’s kidney went to a patient in Pennsylvania. Neither Charles nor LaTwanya knows this generous donor or recipient.

Today, Charles and LaTwanya are continuing to recover well from their surgeries. Charles’ new kidney is fully functioning, and he’s grateful for his sister’s determination to donate in his honor.

NKR Chain 357
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