Vouchers for Future Kidney Transplants to Overcome “Chronological Incompatibility” Between Living Donors and Recipients

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Abstract

Background

The waiting list for kidney transplantation is long. The creation of “vouchers” for future kidney transplants enables living donation to occur when optimal for the donor and transplantation to occur later, when and if needed by the recipient.

Methods

The donation of a kidney at a time that is optimal for the donor generates a “voucher” that only a specified recipient may redeem later when needed. The voucher provides the recipient with priority in being matched with a living donor from the end of a future transplantation chain. Besides its use in persons of advancing age with a limited window for donation, vouchers remove a disincentive to kidney donation, namely, a reluctance to donate now lest one’s family member should need a transplant in the future.

Results

We describe the first three voucher cases, in which advancing age might otherwise have deprived the donors the opportunity to provide a kidney to a family member. These 3 voucher donations functioned in a nondirected fashion and triggered 25 transplants through kidney paired donation across the United States.

Conclusions

The provision of a voucher to potential recipients whose need for a transplant makes them “chronologically incompatible” with their donors may increase the number of living donor transplants.

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