Nation's longest kidney transplant chain surpasses 100 donations

The University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Medicine has the nation's longest ongoing single-center kidney transplant chain, performing more than 101 transplants in five years, according to Alabama NewsCenter.

The kidney transplant chain started December 5, 2013, after Paula King approached UAB about donating a kidney to a stranger.

"The UAB Kidney Chain is an impressive feat that shows how teamwork and innovation can achieve miraculous results," Ms. King told Alabama NewsCenter. "I am humbled to be a small part of what has been accomplished thus far. I would encourage anyone who is considering donating their kidney to think about the impact they can have on someone else's life. I would do it again without hesitation."

Ms. King's generosity spurred others to also donate a kidney — to either a paired match or stranger — in a transplant chain that has since involved more than 200 people from 12 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

"From our perspective, this is a significant achievement for the 93,000 people around the country on the waiting list for a transplant, including almost 2,300 people here in Alabama," Jayme Locke,MD, surgical director of The Incompatible Kidney Transplant Program at UAB's School of Medicine and coordinator of the chain, told Alabama NewsCenter.

About 6,000 living donor transplants occur nationwide each year. Dr. Locke estimates that number could double with a national paired exchange program that includes living kidney chains like the one created at UAB.

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