Skip to Main Content

Baylor St. Luke's Participates in Five-Way Living Donor Kidney Swap with Hospitals across the Country

Posted in:

Houston, TX (January 6, 2017) – St. Luke's Health–Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center (Baylor St. Luke's) successfully completed a 5-way, multi-hospital kidney transplant swap with the National Kidney Registry (NKR). The swap began with a Good Samaritan donor at the University of California, Los Angeles on December 12 and ended on December 15 at the University of California, San Francisco.

“This is a significant achievement for Baylor St. Luke's transplant team,” said Christine O'Mahony, MD, Kidney Transplant Surgical Director, Baylor St. Luke's. “A lot of time and coordination went into making this recent swap a success. I'm proud that we were able to play a role in helping people give the gift of life to each other.”

Local Father and Son Participate in Swap Together

Over the course of three days, five people donated their kidneys to five recipients across the country. Locally, a father (recipient) and son (donor) participated in the chain at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center. Kim Richardson, 69, was diagnosed in his 40s with polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that causes multiple cysts to grow in the kidneys. In September 2011, he was put on the kidney transplant list. Due to a kidney failure and heart disease, Kim may have had six to seven years left of kidney function. Unfortunately, family members were not a donor match for Kim. Baylor St. Luke`s introduced the Richardson family to the living donor match system through the NKR and Kim was placed in a multi-center swap on January 19, 2016. His son, Scott, decided to participate as well. Scott donated his kidney to a recipient in Los Angeles, while Kim received a kidney from a donor in Los Angeles.

“I'm very thankful that the Baylor St. Luke's transplant coordinators introduced us to the idea of the swap program after not having a positive match in our family,” said Kim. “It feels wonderful to have a new kidney. Attending dialysis three times a week ties you down. I have a sense of relief knowing that I no longer have to worry about treatment and can spend more time with my family.” Scott added, “Everybody at Baylor St. Luke's has been incredibly supportive over the past year. It's wonderful that my dad now has an opportunity to improve his quality of life and it is amazing that in the process, several others got the same opportunity!"


Here's How the Swap Worked


Facilitated by the NKR, the living donor swap takes a group of incompatible donor-recipient pairs (recipients coming to one of the four hospitals with a willing donor who is not compatible by blood or tissue) and matches them with other pairs in a similar predicament. By exchanging kidneys between the pairs, it is possible to give each recipient a compatible kidney. In this way, each recipient receives a kidney from a stranger, and transplants are enabled that otherwise would not have taken place. Involving multiple hospitals creates more possibilities for matches.

According to the NKR, nearly 100,000 people are on the kidney transplant waiting list. The living donor swap match program seeks to address the acute shortage of organs by enlarging the pool of living donors who want to donate a kidney to a family member or friend, but can't due to issues such as incompatible blood types

Baylor St. Luke's has one of the most active kidney transplant programs in Texas. The program has performed over 2,100 kidney transplants and has a one-year patient survival rate of 99.4 percent. Since last year, Baylor St. Luke`s has had a 44 percent increase in kidney transplants, including a 10 percent increase in living donor transplants.


About St. Luke&'s Health

St. Luke's Health, a member of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), is comprised of three markets, St. Luke`s Health is home of the Texas Heart Institute (THI),  eight hospitals, eight emergency centers, Diagnostic & Treatment Center, Radiation & CyberKnife® Center, and several St. Luke's Medical Group locations throughout Greater Houston; St. Luke's Health Memorial (three hospitals and a long-term acute care facility in East Texas); and St. Joseph Health (five hospitals and several St. Joseph Medical Group locations across Brazos Valley). In addition, St. Luke's is a part of a joint venture agreement with Baylor College of Medicine®, which encompasses Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center in the Texas Medical Center.  Together, St. Luke's Health, THI, and Baylor College of Medicine® are transforming health care delivery with a mission to usher in a new era of health care to create healthier communities. For more information, visit

St. Luke's Health is a part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), one of the nation's largest health systems. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, CHI operates in 19 states and comprises 105 hospitals, including four academic medical centers and teaching hospitals; 30 critical-access facilities; community health services organizations; accredited nursing colleges; home health agencies; and other services that span the inpatient and outpatient continuum of care. Learn more at

Find a Doctor

Looking for a doctor? Perform a quick search by name or browse by specialty.