SAN FRANCISCO—The University of California’s San Francisco medical center has temporarily suspended its living donor program for kidney transplants after a donor died after a procedure in November. According to the UCSF, the donor had provided a kidney to a patient in October, and died one month later for reasons that have not yet been conclusive.
UCSF has not discussed the identity of the patient or the deceased donor to maintain the patients’ privacy. The medical center’s representatives have indicated that the kidney is in proper working condition.
According to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network, since 2014, four deaths have taken place amongst kidney donors, with only one from UCSF. UCSF says they will not be conducting transplants on donors during the investigation, but will continue transplants for both living and deceased recipients after the investigation ends. The California Pacific Medical Center will be responsible for performing the remainder of donor transplants until the new year.
The UCSF medical center remarked, “most kidney transplant recipients receive kidneys from deceased donors.” Those who receive kidneys from living donors generally see better outcomes. According to the medical center, the risk of a donor death after surgery is approximately three deaths in every 10,000 procedures, about a 0.03 percent.
According to UCSF hospital officials, UCSF Medical center has performed more kidney transplant procedures than any other center in the country, and is recognized to be one of the nation’s most prominent medical centers. Since 1964, UCSF has conducted more than 10,000 procedures, about 350 kidney transplants per year. UCSF reports that approximately 150 of those are from living donors.
Hospital and regulatory officials are still in the process of investigating the cause of the donor’s death. According to UCSF spokesperson Joel Newman, it is unclear whether the donor death was related to the organ procurement surgery caused by a medical condition or an unidentified reason.