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Intermountain Medical Center Transplant Services Has a Record Year for Kidney Transplants in 2013

2/12/2014

2013 was a record-breaking year for organ transplants at the Intermountain Medical Center Transplant Program, which is giving renewed hope to those who are waiting for life-saving organs.

The Intermountain Medical Center Transplant Program performed a record 109 kidney transplants in 2013. The previous record was in 2003 with 107.

Key factors contributing to this milestone are increased awareness levels about organ donation, high survival rates after transplantation, shorter waitlist times compared to national averages and new satellite clinics in surrounding areas.

Intermountain Donor Services, the organ procurement agency for the Utah and the Intermountain West, also reports an increase in the number of organ donors and transplantable organs in 2013. Last year, IDS had a total of 98 donors and recovered 314 transplantable organs, up from 2012, when they recovered 259 organs from 83 donors.

Most donations performed at Intermountain Medical Center are from living donors. Approximately 60 percent of kidney transplants performed at Intermountain Medical Center are from living donors including family members, friends, co-workers, or Good Samaritans, who have no relation to or affiliation with a kidney transplant recipient.

For kidney patients transplanted with a living donor at Intermountain Medical Center, 100 percent were living one month after their transplant, the same as the national average. One hundred percent of those patients had their kidney still functioning one month after transplant, while the national average was 99 percent.

The average waitlist time at Intermountain Medical Center is 12 months while some patients in the United States wait 4+ years. Patients can go to the Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients and click on the state they wish to find a transplant center, compare programs, study survival rates and waitlist times. The website is www.srtr.org.

New satellite clinics in surrounding areas allow patients an opportunity to be evaluated closer to home.

“Now patient’s lives do not have to be disrupted further with traveling far away for care,” says Kari Jones, director of the Intermountain Medical Center Transplant Program.

Many lives were saved and changed by this record-breaking year.

Gerald Wayman, a teacher of woodworking and drafting for the past 13 years at Manti High School, is one example. He had not one, but two, kidney transplants.

“In October of 2006, my kidneys shut down unexpectedly and I was put on dialysis. My brother came to visit and offered to give me a kidney right then and there,” says Wayman.

After eight months of dialysis, Wayman’s brother gave him a new kidney on June 3, 2007.

“Within 6 months, I was almost back to doing all the things I could do before my kidneys shut down. I wish I could say my story ends there, but it does not,” says Wayman.

Almost six years later, Wayman’s body began to reject his brother’s kidney. Slowly the kidney began to fail and he was put back on dialysis in October 2012.

“Again, my family and I began to prepare for a transplant in the coming summer. But all our plans changed on January 8, 2013, when one of my cousins suffered a brain aneurism and was pronounced brain dead the next day,” he says.

“We had talked together about my transplant, and I found out later that he had signed up to be an organ donor just two months before he had the aneurism,” says Wayman.

By being an organ donor, and with the help of the Intermountain Medical Center Transplant Program, Wayman’s cousin was able to help at least twelve different people, with Wayman being one of them.

“This second transplant experience has been very different from the first. The closeness I feel now with my cousin and his family is very special,” Wayman says.

In Utah, you may register to be a donor at www.yesutah.org.

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