June 2009 
Volume 39  Number 6
Pages 19 - 21
  PDF Version Available!

Someone willing to donate a kidney to any needy recipient, known as an altruistic donor, can spark a “daisy chain” of donations. In a recently reported case, one altruistic donor triggered a chain of ten kidney transplants over 8 months.

The chain begins with a patient who has a relative or friend willing to donate a kidney whose blood or tissue type isn't compatible with the patient's. The relative or friend donates his kidney to a compatible patient with the understanding that another kidney will be matched to the original patient from a pool of available altruistic donors.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., where the daisy chain concept was pioneered, call this a nonsimultaneous, extended, altruistic donor (NEAD) chain. ...

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