Patients reunite to celebrate country’s first living donor liver exchange

October 16, 2019

The University Transplant Center, located at University Hospital in San Antonio, has reached another significant and promising milestone. In April, for the first time in this country, we paired two living liver donors with two patients who needed liver transplants.

Organ exchanges involving more than two patients have occurred with kidney donors and recipients. But liver transplants are more complex.

This first known living donor liver exchange took place at University Hospital on April 23-24. On Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m., the patients and their transplant team will be reunited at University Hospital to celebrate this lifesaving achievement.

Some liver patients wait years for a transplant from a deceased donor and become sicker as time passes. There are currently 1,380 Texans on the national liver transplant waiting list.

The liver has the amazing ability to regenerate after a portion is removed and donated. University Transplant Center has the largest program in Texas offering the option of a live donor liver transplant, and it’s now the first in the country to successfully undertake the complicated process of identifying compatible donors and recipients in an exchange that involves four patients.

One donor-recipient couple was medically incompatible, but by “swapping” donors two recipients with failing livers received the life-sustaining transplants they needed.

What:
Reunion of transplant team with patients involved in the first living donor liver exchange
Who: Four patients and their transplant teams available for media interviews
When: Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m.
Where: The Cypress Room at University Hospital, 4502 Medical Drive, San Antonio