The OPTN/UNOS kidney paired donation (KPD) pilot program is experiencing a banner year. As of July 12, 30 KPD transplants have been performed this year alone, which surpasses the total number of KPD transplants matched through the program since it began in late 2010.
In addition, 132 hospitals currently are signed on to participate as of this writing, another record high.
Program leaders continue to implement changes that they hope will lead to even greater hospital participation and an increasing number of transplants. One of the most significant recent changes occurred Feb. 1, when new OPTN policy regarding the program went into effect (see sidebar). Prior to that, the program was governed by operational guidelines only.
FROM GUIDELINES TO POLICY
The transition from guidelines to policy means that the OPTN/UNOS membership and professional standards committee will monitor compliance with KPD policy provisions.
While many of the policy provisions went into effect Feb. 1,several others will be implemented when programming in UNetSMis complete—the inclusion of bridge donors in the program, increasing the number of donors paired to each candidate andeliminating the chain cap on non-directed donor chains.
As explained in the Dec. 13 policy notice, the “operational guidelines have not been completely eliminated; some aspects of the program, such as elements of informed consent, histocompatibility guidelines and prioritization points for matching, remain in the operational guideline format.” The guidelines were revised as of March 25.
The guidelines also reference new provisions regarding livingdonation policy, which also took effect Feb. 1. As in other living kidney donor programs, KPD participants must follow policy provisions for informed consent and evaluation of potential donors.
Changes will continue as the OPTN/UNOS board of directors considers converting other KPD pilot program guidelines into policy and as improvements are made to the automated KPD system,which matches pairs of transplant candidates and living donors.
Questions? Send an e-mail to UNOS KPD pilot program manager Ruthanne Leishman, RN, M.P.H., at email@example.com or to the UNOS KPD mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org.