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Domino Effect: Doctors Perform Rare Kidney Swap Involving a Dozen People


"Her kidney goes to the first recipient, another gives a kidney to the next, on down the line."

The kidney swap theory has a domino effect where (Photo credit Shutterstock)

SAN FRANCISCO (TheBlaze/AP) — In a rare series of interlinked operations, six patients are getting kidney transplants from six donors at a San Francisco hospital.

The kidney swap surgery taking place in California this week is the largest in the transplant center's history.  (Photo credit Shutterstock)

California Pacific Medical Center surgeon Dr. William Bry said the "kidney paired donations" are occurring thanks to a woman who started a chain of donations and to a computer program that matches donors to recipients, KGO-TV reported Wednesday.

Zully Broussard of Sacramento agreed to give a kidney to a man who has a relative willing to donate a kidney but was not compatible with him. That man's relative, in turn, will donate a kidney to a patient who also has a relative or friend willing to donate but unable to because of compatibility issues. The San Francisco station said that this kind of pairing continues down the line four more times until all six kidney patients get transplants.

The paired kidney exchange was achieved via computer software developed by David Jacobs, who is a kidney recipient. It uses an algorithmic program that uses a person's genetic profile and finds potential matches

Once the matches are confirmed, doctors, nurses and case managers work on the logistics of making it a reality.

Broussard said her son died of cancer 13 years ago and her husband passed away 14 months ago, also from cancer.

"I know what it feels like to want an extra day," she said when asked why she volunteered to donate a kidney to a stranger.

Bry called the process "a different type in which an altruistic donor starts a domino type of transplant," according to KPIX-TV.

"Her kidney goes to the first recipient, another gives a kidney to the next, on down the line," he said.

Three transplants are planned for Thursday and the remaining three on Friday. Most of those involved are from the San Francisco Bay Area.

"I thought I was going to help this one person who I don't know, but the fact that so many people can have a life extension, that's pretty big," Broussard said.

KPIX reported that this is the largest kidney donation chain to take place at the transplant center.

Watch the news station's report:

Front page image via Shutterstock.

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