ISMETT Reaches 200 Kidney Transplants from Living Donors

By: Francesca Valagussa

UPMC-managed ISMETT, located in Palermo, Italy, reached yet another milestone, performing its 200th kidney transplant from a live donor. Part of a successful partnership with the Region of Sicily, the leading organ transplant facility is one of only three centers in Italy to perform transplants from living donors during the COVID-19 pandemic. ISMETT revised protocols and increased protective measures to ensure maximum safety for patients and donors.

The 200th patient is a young Sicilian woman who received a kidney from her mother.

“Both patients are in very good condition,” says Salvatore Gruttadauria, M.D., director of abdominal surgery at ISMETT. “The young patient was referred to our center on time, and this, together with her mother’s donation, allowed us to perform a preemptive transplant before the onset of dialysis.”

To reduce risks to the donor and the length of her hospitalization, her kidney was removed laparoscopically, which is a minimally invasive surgical technique.

“This technique ensures better control of postoperative pain and also improves the result from an aesthetic point of view, with much smaller scars that heal quickly,” explains Davide Cintorino, M.D., head of laparoscopic kidney removals at ISMETT.

Of the 34 licensed transplant centers in Italy, ISMETT ranks fourth in the number of living-donor kidney transplants performed, with a total of 18 last year. This achievement was made possible thanks to a collaboration with Sicilian nephrologists that favors preemptive transplant surgery over costly dialysis treatments. Earlier transplantation improves survival outcomes for patients and reduces costs incurred by the regional health system.