It’s not unusual to hear of a potential living kidney donor traveling to their would-be recipient’s transplant center for testing and surgery. While this benefits the transplant center (money & convenience), it can be harmful to the living donor. Some transplant centers discourage living donors from choosing a transplant center closer to their residence, reasoning that it’s “better” for the recipient if ischemic time (the length of time the organ spends outside of the human body) is as short as possible.
But deceased organs are shipped regularly, and now we have an infusion pump to keep blood flowing through the organ while it’s traveling, so…
57 shipped live donor kidneys were transplanted from 31 institutions in 26 cities. The mean shipping distance was 1,634 miles (range 123-2811) with mean CIT [cold ischemic time] of 12.1 ± 2.8 hours. The incidence of delayed graft function in the shipped cohort was 1.8% (1/57) compared to 0% (0/57) in the non-shipped cohort. The 1-year allograft survival was 98% in both cohorts. There was no significant differences between the mean serum creatinine values or the rates of serum creatinine decline in the immediate post-operative period even after adjusted for gender and differences in recipient and donor BMI.
Remember: No one is a better advocate for a living donor than her/himself. Don’t allow anyone to put your care at risk.
Treat EG, Miller ET, Kwan L, Connor SE, Maliski SL, Hicks EM, Williams KC, Whitted LA, Gritsch HA, McGuire SM, Mone TD, & Veale JL (2014). Outcomes of Shipped Live Donor Kidney Transplants Compared With Traditional Living Donor Kidney Transplants. Transplant international : official journal of the European Society for Organ Transplantation PMID: 25052215