Canada’s Living Donor Paired Exchange Kidney Registry Hits the Century Mark

National organ donation registry celebrates 100th successful transplant

November 29, 2011 (OTTAWA, ON) – Canada’s ground-breaking Living Donor Paired Exchange (LDPE) kidney transplant registry has reached another significant milestone with the completion of its 100th successful transplant. The landmark transplant comes less than a year after the last province signed on to make the LDPE Canada’s first truly national organ donation registry.

The LDPE – which operates as a partnership between Canadian Blood Services and transplant programs across the country - facilitates living kidney donations between patients with a willing but incompatible donor and other pairs in the same situation. Since launching as a three-province pilot in 2009, the LDPE has been a shining example of what can happen when programs work together, across provincial boundaries for the benefit of patients.

“A kidney from a living donor is the optimal solution for someone requiring a transplant,” said Dr. Peter Nickerson, Executive Medical Director, Organs and Tissues, Canadian Blood Services. “Those organs tend to result in the best long-term outcomes for patients. Tools like the LDPE that have proven successful in finding matches for those in need have the potential to bring significant benefits to both patients and the health care system in general.” Not only do those transplants improve and save lives, estimates suggest the net cost benefit of a transplant over dialysis is approximately $50,000 per patient per year. Using those figures, transplants that have occurred through the LDPE have resulted in excess of $5 million in cost avoidance already.

Much of the LDPE’s success can be attributed to the presence of non-directed anonymous donors (NDADs),selfless individuals who have entered the registry unpaired and are willing to donateto anyone in need. 20 NDADs have already donated through the registry, and incredibly have sparked nearly 70 per cent of the transplants completed to date.

“Non-directed donors have played a role in this system that is nothing short of heroic. They have literally given a stranger their life back. It’s hard to think of a more noble gift,” said Dr. Edward Cole, Physician in Chief, University Health Network, and Chair of the National Kidney Registries Advisory Committee.

The LDPE was the first deliverable of Canadian Blood Services’ mandate in organ and tissue donation and transplantation (OTDT). In addition to registry development, the organization - on behalf of the Canadian OTDT community - submitted to governments a comprehensive strategic plan, complete with 25 recommendations to significantly improve OTDT performance in Canada. That plan was delivered in April and is currently with governments for review.

As of the end of October, the LDPE has 247 donor-recipient pairs registered in the system as well as 25 NDADs. The registry continues to grow across the country, and with each new pair the chances of someone finding the match they need increases.

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