FAQs: Kidney Paired Donation
How long does it take to find a match?
Donor testing and evaluation is complex, comprehensive and carried out in detail (multiple times, if required) in the best interest of the donor and the recipient.
To date in the Kidney Paired Donation program, all patients with a match have received a transplant in less than one year. For those who are difficult to match or who require further testing, the wait time could be longer and is difficult to predict.
If waiting for a deceased donation for a kidney transplant, the current median wait is 4.5 years. For chains identified in the Kidney Paired Donation program that progress to transplant, the median time to transplant is 120 days.
The KPD program is providing new opportunities for transplant for donor/recipient pairs and can significantly reduce the time it takes for patients to get a transplant.
What can contribute to the delays in finding an appropriate donor?
Factors that can contribute to delays in completing transplants include personal issues and unexpected changes in the health status of any of the donors or recipients in a “chain”. The Kidney Paired Donation program is focused on providing excellent care, so transplants will not proceed until all health concerns are resolved and donors and recipients are ready for donation and for transplant.
While patients are waiting to be matched in the Kidney Paired Donation program they also remain on their local deceased donor waitlists. This means if a deceased donor transplant offer comes up for them locally, they have access to this donation ensuring a patient doesn’t miss this opportunity.
In the Kidney Paired Donation program, approximately 2/3 of the matched pairs initiated in a chain progress to transplant and to date, these have occurred in less than a year. One-third are not continued for a variety of reasons, including personal and dynamic health issues. If a match in the chain is unable to progress to transplant, the chain is stopped and all eligible pairs are considered in another matching cycle.
Canadian Blood Services, in collaboration with the national Kidney Transplant Advisory Committee, reviews the progress of all the chains monthly to ensure continued progress and that high priority cases receive appropriate attention and follow up. The Kidney Paired Donation program makes every effort to obtain a match for all registered recipients.
How do patients know the status of their situation?
All communication with donors and patients is the responsibility of the clinical program in each province. Each donor has a donor coordinator and physician and each recipient has a transplant coordinator and physician. These coordinators and physicians are responsible for leading the evaluation process of the donor/or recipient at their home donation/transplant centre, for entering them in the Kidney Paired Donation program, and for communicating with the participants throughout the matching and chain evaluation process.
What can you tell us about specific cases?
Details of specific cases are confidential. All cases remain a high priority in the Kidney Paired Donation program until the patient receives a transplant.
How is the program working in Canada?
Since the Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) program was launched in 2009, 700 living kidney donors across Canada have shared the altruistic gift of a kidney donation through the national Kidney Paired Donation program, including 160 non-directed (those who do not have a specific friend or family member to pair with but who wish to donate) anonymous donors.
This very successful collaborative effort between Canadian Blood Services and the living donation and transplant programs across Canada has changed lives for these patients and their families, providing an opportunity that may not have ever been available to them without this program.
Having one national registry also allows patients in need of a kidney transplant, who have a willing but incompatible donor, access to a Canadian pool of potential donors, thereby increasing the likelihood of a finding a suitable donor.
The KPD program continues to grow and as more pairs enter the system, we anticipate even greater success in the future.