Kidney Exchange Program Provides Life-Saving Donation Option for Jackson and Family
Katie Sutton learned that her son, Jackson, would need a kidney transplant during his first years of life. She immediately volunteered her own.
Testing revealed that the two were a match, and a date for the transplant was scheduled. Four days before the planned surgery, however, final compatibility testing showed that Jackson had developed antibodies that would fight against Katie’s cells. She was no longer a viable donor. She and her husband, Matt, were devastated.
“It was heartbreaking. But the [Cincinnati Children’s] team was amazing,” said Katie.
The team worked quickly to get Matt tested and simultaneously entered Jackson and Katie into the national kidney exchange program. Jackson was 2 years old at the time.
Kidney Paired Donation Helps Jackson and Other Transplant Candidates
The exchange program, also known as kidney paired donation, or KPD, provides transplant candidates with another option. It involves a wide range of donor and recipient pairs, who may live in different parts of the country. Through KPD, a donor (in this case, Katie) will donate their kidney to another recipient in exchange for a compatible kidney for their friend or family member (in this case, Jackson).
Born with end-stage renal disease, Jackson was on dialysis beginning at only two days old. A blockage in his bladder had caused urine to back up into his kidneys, destroying them. His care team in Indiana worked in close coordination with doctors at Cincinnati Children’s. Jackson would require a transplant—as soon as possible.