Background: The utilization of deceased donor kidneys to initiate chains of living donor kidney paired donation (KPD) has been proposed, although the potential gain of this practice needs to be quantified and the ethical implications must be addressed before starting its application.
Methods: The gain of implementing deceased donor-initiated chains has been measured through a mathematical algorithm, using retrospective data on the pool of donor/recipient incompatible pairs at a single Center. Allocation rules of chain ending kidneys and characteristics/quality of the chain initiating kidney (CIK) are described.
Results: the quantification of benefit analysis showed that with a pool of 69 kidneys from deceased donors and 16 pairs enrolled in the KPD program, over a period of 3 years it is possible to transplant 8/16 recipients (50%). Following the approval of the Bioethical Committee of the Veneto Region and the revision of the allocation policies by the Italian National Transplant Center, the first successful case has been performed. The waiting time of the recipient (male, 53 yo) after entering the program for the CIK with a kidney donor risk index (KDRI) equal to 0.61 and a kidney donor profile index (KDPI) of 3%, was 4 days. His willing donor (female, 53 yo) with a living kidney donor profile index (LKDPI) of 2, donated 2 days later to a chain ending recipient (male, 47 yo,) who had been on dialysis for 5 years.
Conclusions: This is the first report of a deliberate deceased donor-initiated chain, which has been successfully performed. This has been made possible thanks to an extensive phase of evaluation of the ethical issues and allocation policy impact. This paper includes a preliminary efficacy assessment and the development a dedicated algorithm.