May 18, 2011
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's live donor kidney transplant program has been temporarily suspended while health officials investigate a possible hepatitis C transmission from an organ donor to a recipient. The state Department of Health; the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which oversees US transplant programs; and Allegheny County are assessing the UPMC program.
"We have voluntarily postponed currently scheduled living donor kidney cases until UNOS can complete a review of the situation we discovered in one isolated case, which we self-reported to UNOS," said UPMC spokesperson Jennifer Yates. "The specific case involved a kidney transplant recipient who received a kidney from a donor who was hepatitis C-positive."
"This temporary suspension of the program allows us to thoroughly evaluate our protocols and donor screening processes to reassure our patients that they receive the very highest standards of care. We fully anticipate a resumption of cases in the very near term," said Yates.
Ron Voorhees, the county's chief of epidemiology and biostatistics, said he is waiting to hear back from state investigators on test results.
While hospital officials have told patients the program could resume within weeks, kidney transplant experts say UNOS' reviews typically take months to complete.