Increasing the Opportunity of Live Kidney Donation by Matching for Two- and Three-Way Exchanges

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To expand the opportunity for paired live donor kidney transplantation, computerized matching algorithms have been designed to identify maximal sets of compatible donor/recipient pairs from a registry of incompatible pairs submitted as candidates for transplantation.


Demographic data of patients who had been evaluated for live donor kidney transplantation but found to be incompatible with their potential donor (because of ABO blood group or positive crossmatch) were submitted for computer analysis and matching. Data included ABO and HLA types of donor and recipient, %PRA and specificity of recipient alloantibody, donor/recipient relationship, and the reason the donor was incompatible. The data set used for the initial simulation included 29 patients with one donor each and 16 patients with multiple donors for a total of 45 patients and 68 donor/patient pairs. In addition, a simulation based on OPTN/SRTR data was used to further assess the practical importance of multiple exchange combinations.


If only exchanges involving two patient-donor pairs were allowed, a maximum of 8 patient-donor pairs in the data set could exchange kidneys. If three-way exchanges were also allowed, a maximum of 11 pairs could exchange kidneys. Simulations with OPTN/SRTR data demonstrate that the increase in the number of potential transplants if three-way exchanges are allowed is robust, and does not depend on the particular patients in our sample.


A computerized matching protocol can be used to identify donor/recipient pairs from a registry of incompatible pairs who can potentially enter into donor exchanges that otherwise would not readily occur.

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