UCSF Medical Center in Mission Bay. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo)

UCSF suspends living donor program for kidney transplants after patient death

UC San Francisco, which offers one of the largest kidney transplant programs in the U.S., has suspended its living donor program for kidney transplants after a patient died last month when donating a kidney, the university announced Thursday.

Six weeks after the patient died in November after donating a kidney, the patient’s cause of death remains under investigation, according to university officials, adding that the recipient has a functioning transplant.

After the patient’s death, UCSF immediately notified the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). As is common practice when there is a donor death shortly after the post-operative period, UNOS asked for a voluntary suspension of the living donor kidney program, university officials said.

The deceased donor kidney transplantation and living donor liver transplantation, as well as other transplant programs, are not impacted.

“The safety and well-being of our patients is our top priority, and every effort is being made to understand what happened,” UCSF officials said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event.”

UCSF has more patients on the kidney transplant waiting list than any other U.S. transplant center. UCSF Medical Center performs some 350 kidney transplant annually, including about 150 involving living donors. Additionally, the university has performed over 10,000 kidney transplants since 1964, more than any other center in the U.S.

The suspension doesn’t affect transplant recipients who are waiting for a deceased donor at UCSF. Recipients and donors who are affected may contact UCSF to find another transplant center to be evaluated as a recipient or donor during the suspension.

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