What is KPD?
Kidney Paired Donation
Through a Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program, donors incompatible with their recipients can still help their loved ones get a live donor kidney by matching with another incompatible pair.
Not just anyone can donate a kidney to anyone else. Not only does the donor have to be willing and healthy, but the donor must be of a compatible blood-type (ABO) with the recipient, and a crossmatch (XM) between the donor and recipient must be negative.
Often a close friend, spouse, or family member will want to donate. Unfortunately that person may not be a compatible donor. But what if there is another donor/recipient pair somewhere such that:
- The first donor can donate to the second recipient, and
- the second donor can donate to the first recipient?
This is the basic idea behind Kidney Paired Donation, or KPD (previously known as Paired Kidney Exchange or Kidney Swap). Instead of waiting, possibly for years, for a compatible kidney to become available through the deceased donor waiting list, donor/recipient pairs are matched based on their compatibilities with one another. When a match is found, both transplants may be performed.
KPD is already taking place at a few hospitals around the country, such as Johns Hopkins. Its early success is helping it rapidly gain popularity.