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Tue, Jul 23 10:22am · New Transplant Blog Posts in Transplants

Hello Transplant Friends! Today's blog post can be helpful for those who are looking for a transplant center. We talk about the aspects of complex care that you should evaluate when searching for a transplant program that's right for you. Have you considered these points when looking for your transplant care? Which one was most important to you? https://mayocl.in/2LJ14J9

Tue, Jul 23 10:15am · Why Choose Mayo Clinic for Transplant Care? in Transplant

Many transplant centers in the United States are capable of providing transplant surgery and aftercare. Why would you choose Mayo Clinic for your transplant? The primary value of Mayo Clinic is “the needs of the patients come first”, and we feel this is the primary reason so many patients choose Mayo Clinic for their medical care. We know that there are many transplant centers available to choose from and patients are looking at many different aspects of their care when making that choice. We have created this Top 5 List of factors you should consider before choosing a transplant center.2019-06-17 Why Choose MC Blog

#1 Experienced Staff

Doctors who perform a handful of transplants a year are likely skilled, but at Mayo Clinic, our physicians perform more than 2,000 transplants per year. This experience gives our surgeons and medical teams expertise in many complex cases that other hospitals may not see. If you need a complex surgery such as a transplant, you want to know that your care team has extensive experience, and you should make sure they have the knowledge to deal with any issue that might arise before, during and after your surgery. Be sure to choose a transplant center that has proven experience in the type of transplant you need.

#2 Teamwork and Collaboration

Mayo Clinic has experts from every discipline who collaborate and work as a team. If you have a cardiac issue and you are going through kidney transplant evaluation, our kidney doctors have cardiologists in the office right next door whom they can consult for heart expertise. At some hospitals, those experts are at another campus or even in another town and that consultation could take weeks. At Mayo Clinic, we have a team of experts located close by who can share your medical record, sometimes in a matter of minutes if necessary. Having experts close by will reduce your time spent waiting for consultations and improve the efficiency of your care at a critical time when you don’t have a second to waste.

#3 Top of the Line Resources

Mayo Clinic provides their doctors and nurses with the best equipment, exam room space and support staff available. We have the highest quality medical equipment available for your radiology scans, blood work, and other medical tests. Our support staff is top notch, and they understand your needs and are there to help you with appointments, questions, and navigating the Mayo Clinic system and campuses. Make sure that the transplant center you choose has adequate staffing and up-to-date equipment to make your experience the best it can be.

#4 Hospitality House Partnerships

Mayo Clinic partners with transplant houses in each of our three locations. These houses are a home-away-from-home for transplant patients who have to remain at the clinic for their evaluations and surgeries. Our transplant houses are a perfect place for you to stay in a highly sanitized and supportive environment. You can meet others who are going through a similar situation, save money on housing and food while you are in town, and even get transportation to and from your appointments. When you choose a transplant center, look for affordable and clean housing close by. Ask for discounts if you are staying at local hotels.

#5 Quality Care and High Survival Outcomes

Mayo Clinic has been ranked as the #1 hospital in the nation by U.S. News many times in the last several years. Our quality of care is second to none, and our hospitals have received many awards in the past for high quality care. Survival outcomes for any organ at any transplant center can be found on the Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients (SRTR) website. Mayo Clinic consistently achieves some of the best outcomes in the nation. Make sure that the transplant center you choose has consistently high patient and organ (graft) survival rates. You can learn more about SRTR on our blog.

What aspects of the transplant center were most important to you when you made your choice?


Mon, Jul 8 8:28am · Reunion get together at Rochester in Transplants

Hi all!
@rosemarya @glinda
You can register for the picnic just by sending an email to transplantpicnic@gmail.com. There is not a web page that I know of to register. Just send your name and information, as well as the number of people that plan to attend. Let me know if you need anything further! Thanks!

Tue, Jun 25 10:41am · New Transplant Blog Posts in Transplants

Happy Summer Everyone! It's finally nice weather here in Minnesota, although we could do without the daily rain storm.
Today's blog post will be of interest to anyone who has participated in kidney paired exchange or anyone who is considering kidney donation. The post today will give you more information about Mayo Clinic's paired donation experience, and show you how a transplant center with experience in paired donation can help so many people with just a single nondirected donor.
Read more here: https://mayocl.in/2YaLd8w

And let us know if you have more questions about this life saving process!
Have a wonderful week!

Mon, Jun 24 10:45am · Living Donor Process in Transplants

@jdcowle5 – Thank you for considering living donation! As for the kit, there should be instructions inside the kit. Take it to your local lab, they will draw the blood and should ship it back to Mayo Clinic for you. If there are further questions while you are there (or before you go) you can contact our living donor phone line at 866-227-1569. As for your return to work, every patient is a little bit different. If you have a sedentary desk job, you can likely return sooner than someone who has a physical labor job. The average is 3-6 weeks, depending upon your type of work, your recovery, and any issues you may have after surgery. Your nurse coordinator can give you a better estimate once they see you in evaluation. If you have any further questions, let us know. And thanks again for considering donation! – Kristin

Thu, Jun 13 9:01am · Kidney Paired Donation and the Mayo Clinic Experience - An Update in Transplant

Today almost 114,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant and over 94,000 of those are waiting for a kidney. Increasing the number of possible living donors and finding innovative ways to get more people transplanted are two of the best ways to reduce this waiting list. Paired donation kidney transplant is a way to reduce the waiting list and give living donors a chance to help not just one life, but sometimes many lives.

Kidney transplants can be performed from a deceased or living donor. Living donors are often a family or friend, but they can also be anonymous, non-directed donors, meaning they are not donating to someone they know. Often, when someone wishes to donate anonymously, that donation can spark a chain of kidney transplants, a process known as paired donor kidney transplant. Generally, non-directed donors are genuinely altruistic, very giving and unselfish people.

2019-06-13 Paired Donation Update Blog

In kidney paired donation, the non-directed kidney donation goes to a recipient who had someone volunteer as their donor, but the donor was not a compatible match. That donor then “pays forward” their donation to someone else who is waiting. Living donation gives transplant patients a chance for better quality of life and a longer life. Living donor surgery can be planned, and if possible, the patient can be transplanted before dialysis is needed. Kidney paired donation is only available for living donor transplants.

Mayo Clinic performed its first paired kidney donation in 2007 with a two-way paired donation. A son desperately wanted to donate to his father, but their blood types weren’t a match. However, the son had the option to swap his kidney with someone else who had a donor that didn’t match. Mayo Clinic was able to find another donor/recipient pair that was incompatible due to antibody resistance. The pairs matched and the transplants were performed in November 2007.

Other situations offer opportunities for kidney paired donation. Even if a donor matches with their recipient, the match might not be perfect. If the donor is significantly older than the recipient, they may do better with a younger donor. Or if the donor is very petite and recipient is tall and large, participating in kidney paired donation might give the recipient more kidney volume which could bring better kidney function and patient survival.

With more than 12 years of experience facilitating paired donor kidney transplants, Mayo Clinic has now completed over 400 transplants using kidney paired donation and is hoping to complete many more in the coming years. Mayo Clinic has also established a relationship with the National Kidney Registry (NKR). Working with NKR has allowed Mayo Clinic to expand the donor pool for recipients because NKR matches living donors and recipients through a national registry with transplant hospitals throughout the United States. With a large pool of donors and recipients, more exact matches can be made, which allows for optimal long-term outcomes.

Kidney Paired Donation at Mayo Clinic by the Numbers:

  • More than 400 kidney transplants performed via paired donation in the past 12 years
  • Non directed donors created multiple chains, helping many more than just one recipient
  • Non-directed donors need to be at least 21 years old
  • The oldest living donor was in their 70s and many donors are older than age 65

Becoming a donor is a choice you need to make for yourself. You should not feel pressured to be tested or to donate. Not everyone can be a donor and not everyone should be a donor. A person needs to be medically healthy and psychosocially stable. They need to be financially stable enough to take time off work. By qualifying to be a living donor, whether for someone you know and love or just because you know there is a need, you could save the lives of many people by starting a chain of kidney transplants through the paired donor process we described. If you would like more information about kidney donation, visit our living donor toolkit.

Have you participated in kidney paired donation? Tell us about your experience!



Tue, May 14 12:06pm · New Transplant Blog Posts in Transplants

In today's Newsfeed post, we would like to introduce you to Dr. Mikel Prieto. Dr. Prieto has been a transplant surgeon at Mayo Clinic for almost 20 years, and has brought so many advances and life-saving techniques to our patients. We are so happy he agreed to be interviewed and share his passion for not only transplant surgery, but also so many interesting parts of his life. Read more about Dr. Prieto, and if you have met him, give him a shout out for his 20 year anniversary!


Tue, May 14 12:00pm · Meet the Expert: Dr. Mikel Prieto in Transplant

Dr. Mikel Prieto is a kidney, pancreas, and pediatric transplant surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He has special interests in kidney paired donation and transplantation for polycystic kidney disease as well as pancreas transplantation for type 1 diabetics and transplantation in children. I sat down with Dr. Prieto recently to ask him about his career, hobbies, and interests. I learned what he thinks will happen in the field of kidney transplant in the future.

Where did you grow up and how did you decide to become a surgeon?

I grew up San Sabastian, a town in the Basque Region of Spain. My city is known for its beautiful beaches, outdoor activities, and has a claim to fame for being one of the best places to eat in the world. We have many award winning restaurants and San Sabastian is one of the few cities in the world with more than one restaurant with a 3-Star rating in the Michelin guide. My wife is also from the Basque region, and we both met at a ceremony were we were both receiving the “Basques of the World” award. She is a concert pianist who specializes in coaching and accompanying opera singers.

At age 9, I already knew I wanted to be a transplant surgeon. It was the year that Dr. Christiaan Barnard from South Africa, after training in Minnesota, performed the first heart transplant. He wrote a book about his experience. I read the book and found the possibility of organ transplantation in humans fascinating. My other interest was to be an astronaut, because Armstrong landed on the moon around that time. I figured it would be easier to get into transplant surgery than go to space, so after attending medical school in Spain and spending 3 years in England, I came to the United States for training in surgery and organ transplantation. Interestingly, the locker that was assigned to me during my training at the University of Minnesota had the inscription “C. Barnard”. The surgeon that had inspired me to become a transplant surgeon in my youth had shared with me the same operating room locker decades later. After 12 years of training and research in surgery and transplantation, I came to Mayo Clinic, where I have been a transplant surgeon for the last 20 years.

Describe your role on the care team and what brought you to Mayo Clinic.

The first thing I noticed when coming to Mayo Clinic was our strong philosophy of teamwork. In transplant, we need the expertise of many different disciplines, and the surgeon is an integral part of that team. I was drawn to Mayo because this area of medicine, transplantation, is a very fertile ground for teamwork, and Mayo Clinic practices this concept better than any other institution. In my job, I get to change peoples’ lives every day by performing life changing transplants. But that’s not all we do. We also get the privilege of being able to advance the science and art of transplantation medicine and surgery. One of the great aspects of Mayo Clinic is that our teamwork makes it possible for us to make changes in processes and advance the science of transplant through these changes. After two month at Mayo Clinic, I was able to change our practice from open surgeries for kidney donors to laparoscopic (small incisions, fast recovery) surgeries for those patients. We also pioneered the removal of very large polycystic kidneys with a laparoscopic technique. Today we are one of the few centers that perform this procedure at the same time as a kidney transplant. As Mayo Clinic doctors, it is part of our job to innovate and improve care for our patients every day through research and surgical advancements.

Apart from the daily care of transplant patients, I have had several administrative responsibilities. These included Surgical Director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program, Director of the Pediatric Kidney Transplant Program, and Director of International Practice Operations for Mayo Clinic.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?

If I had to retire from medicine tomorrow, I think I would like to be at least a part-time cowboy or wrangler somewhere in Wyoming, Montana or Colorado. I love the American West, the open plains and mountains. However, my number one love today still is medicine. Sometimes people in Minnesota take for granted the incredible health care quality that we have. We benefit from the best health care in the world right here in our hometown hospital. This is the birth place of many great innovations in medicine that date back to the Mayo brothers. Many people don’t realize how amazing this is, and they accept it as normal. But other places don’t have this great health care experience. I am very proud to be here as part of the Mayo Clinic miracle.05-14-2019 Meet the Expert Prieto

I also have a personal interest in understanding the factors that lead to high quality healthcare. With 20 years of experience at Mayo, I see up close every day what good health care looks like. I travel often and see how health care looks in other areas of the world, and as the medical director for international activities I had innumerable opportunities to discuss these issues with other healthcare leaders. If I wasn’t a surgeon, I would be interested in consulting with hospitals, healthcare organizations and government agencies on how to improve the quality of healthcare.

What is the best part of your work?

My best days at work are taking a young child to the operating room who typically has spent a good part of their short life sick and on dialysis and being able to change their life for the better. Seeing how that child, after a successful transplant, flourishes and is given a new full life is the most rewarding part of what I do. In fact, I can’t think of another job that could provide me with this kind of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.

Describe one of your favorite or most rewarding work experiences.

My favorite experience is being able to transplant a patient that no one else thought was possible. A few years ago, we transplanted a child who nobody thought could ever be transplanted. He got the H1N1 flu after only a month in kindergarten and spent the next 2+ years in the hospital. He had more than 70 surgeries before he came to Mayo Clinic, and he was very weak and sick with multi-organ failure. We were able, through some preparatory surgery, to get him well enough to undergo a kidney transplant from his mother. If he hadn’t come to Mayo Clinic, and our team hadn’t agreed to think outside the box, he would not be with us today. He is now a happy, healthy teenager leading a normal life.

If you could change something about the kidney transplant field today, what would you change?

I wish we had enough organs to get everybody transplanted through tissue engineering and other techniques. I also would like us to make a greater effort to minimize the wait time for patients on the waiting list by promoting living and deceased organ donation.

Another great advancement would be to conquer “tolerance” so patients no longer need immunosuppression medications after a transplant. Research work is being done in all these areas, and I am very hopeful for the future.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The biggest challenge for me is the frustration that we can’t help everyone. Sometimes people are too weak and frail to benefit from these techniques. We do our best to help as many people as we can, but sometime we are just too late.

What are your interests or passions outside of work?

I love the outdoors. As far as I am concerned, an evening trail ride through the countryside around Rochester on horseback is the perfect way to end a day. I try to get out of town and camp with my family on most weekends in the summer. For my travel vacations, I choose the American West or a trip through Europe. In the winter, I like to go skiing to the Rockies or to the Alps.

I am also a classical music and opera lover. My favorite memory was to watch my wife, a concert pianist and a coach for opera singers, perform at Carnegie Hall. I did that twice!

What is your hope for kidney transplant in the coming years?

I hope we are successful at conquering immunological tolerance, so we don’t need to use long-term immunosuppression to prevent rejection in our patients. I also hope we can figure out, one way or another, how to solve the organ shortage problem. In the short term, I want to see Mayo Clinic continue to be a leader in preemptive kidney transplantation and kidney paired donation. These are the things that will help make transplantation an option for everyone who needs a lifesaving organ.

Join us in congratulating Dr. Prieto on his 20 years at Mayo Clinic, and we hope to have his skill and expertise for many more!