MAYWOOD, IL – Loyola Medicine transplant surgeon Raquel Garcia Roca, MD, participated on a panel of transplant specialists who spoke about living donor organ transplants during the 2018 Chicago Organ Summit on Thursday, March 8.
Loyola Medicine has performed nearly 700 living-donor kidney transplants and recently performed its first living-donor liver transplant.
In the United States, more than 100,000 kidney patients are on the transplant waiting list, but last year, fewer than 20,000 patients received transplants. Patients can wait five years or longer for a transplant from a deceased donor, and many patients die before an organ becomes available.
Dr. Garcia Roca (pictured at the Chicago Organ Summit with Kevin Cmunt, CEO, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network) said living donor transplants can help relieve the shortage. She noted that donors are carefully screened and undergo a rigorous process of education and evaluation by a team of physicians and donor advocates.
After donating one kidney, a living donor can live a long and healthy life with their remaining kidney. "Donors are often surprised to learn that our minimally invasive techniques result in little pain, a speedy recovery and very small scars," Dr. Garcia Roca said. "They typically go home after one night in the hospital."
Last year, Loyola performed a three-way living donor kidney transplant chain on the same day. It began when an altruistic donor, Terri Thede, donated a kidney to a man she had never met, William Parra. Mr. Parra's wife paid it forward by donating a kidney to Vitalii Stasiuk. Mr. Stasiuk's mother paid it forward by donating a kidney to Irene Zapata.
"Loyola has the resources and experience to successfully complete such a complex and challenging endeavor," Dr. Garcia Roca said.
Loyola offers the highest level of integrated care for patients with kidney disease and kidney failure who are candidates for transplants. Loyola takes on the most challenging cases, including patients who have been turned down by other centers.
The Chicago Organ Summit was sponsored by the city of Chicago, Illinois Secretary of State and Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network. The summit brought together city and state officials and leaders from Chicago transplant centers and hospital systems, who shared how together they will transform Chicago into the nation's transplant hub. Gift of Hope coordinates organ and tissue donation in the northern three-quarters of Illinois and northwest Indiana.