Newswise — Four patients are recovering after the transplant team at Scott & White Memorial Hospital - Temple completed a 14-hour, two-way kidney exchange surgery. This was the first time that such a procedure – known as a paired donation – was performed at Scott & White Memorial with all patients in-house.

The first of the four procedures began in the early morning of April 22 and the last procedure concluded late in the evening. Click here to see pictures and a timeline of events.“These multiple procedures mark our commitment to helping kidney patients receive transplants through our living donor program,” said Jacqueline Lappin, MD, surgical director of kidney/pancreas organ transplantation. “Living donors save lives, decreasing wait time for recipients and are the best options for patients with renal failure.”

In 2014, Scott & White Memorial performed 24% of their total kidney transplants through living donation. This year to date, six living donor transplants have been performed; double the amount from this time last year. The kidney and pancreas transplant team attributes the increase in living donors to a concerted effort to educate the community about the benefits of living kidney donation.

“We offer patients support and education to help them in their journey to transplant,” said Debra Doherty, MD, director of living donor kidney transplantation. “When patients understand their options, they and their advocates are encouraged to reach out to those who are willing to donate and the community has responded.”

Kidney paired donation is a transplant option for candidates who have a medically suitable living donor who is unable to donate their kidney due to incompatibility with the recipient. A paired donor exchange allows transplant candidates to trade donors with those who are compatible. When tests determine donors and recipients match, the kidney transplant surgeries can be scheduled between the participating institutions. The Scott & White Memorial kidney/pancreas transplant team has collaborated with other facilities for paired donation, but this week’s donation became the first internal swap of incompatible pairs.

Scott & White Memorial continues to work with organ procurement groups such as Southwest Transplant Alliance, Alliance for Paired Donation, and United Network of Organ Sharing. More than 109,000 people in the U.S. annually are in need a of kidney transplant and, according to the United Network of Organ Sharing, about 4,500 people die every year waiting for a kidney transplant. According to the Alliance for Paired Donation, the number of kidney exchange transplants increased five-fold from 111 in 2007 to 590 in 2013. As the popularity of kidney exchanges continues to grow, more patients and their donors have an opportunity to give and receive the gift of life. For more information about the Scott & White Memorial Kidney and Pancreas Transplant program and becoming a donor, visit our website