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Relatives, non-relatives eligible for Living Donor Exchange Program

by Maggie Diebolt
Public Relations
The demand for kidney donation is much greater than the supply. There are currently more than 700 people in South Carolina waiting to receive a kidney transplant, and approximately 1 out of 20 patients die from kidney disease each year as they wait for a kidney from a deceased donor.
MUSC’s transplant program began in 1968, and approximately 180 kidney transplants are performed at MUSC each year.
The Living Donor Exchange Program matches patients in need of a transplant with a living person willing to donate a kidney. While some may question the logic of a healthy person donating one of their kidneys, research has shown that a person can live a long and healthy life with just one kidney—the remaining kidney simply grows bigger and takes over the work of both kidneys.
Both relatives and non-relatives can be eligible to become a living donor, and Prabhagar Baliga, M.D., Transplant Surgery chief, notes that, “This past year we have been pleasantly surprised by an increasing number of volunteers in the community who came forward to donate a kidney to a complete stranger on the list. The team feels especially privileged to have the trust such living donors placed in us and their enduring generosity reinforces our faith in humanity.”
The benefits of receiving a donated kidney from a living donor are numerous, including being able to avoid complications of prolonged dialysis and having more time to prepare for surgery.   Additionally, a kidney from a living donor typically functions better and lasts longer than one from a deceased donor, and the success rates are higher.
In order to provide the best possible match, a candidate for living donation will undergo blood and tissue testing, health exams and counseling by the transplant team.
For more information about the living donor program, contact Lucia Miles, at 792-8939, or visit or the
Paired Donation Network’s Web site,

Friday, Oct. 16, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.