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PinnacleHealth Surgeons Perform 1,000th Kidney Transplant Recipient

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Wellness & Prevention

PinnacleHealth Surgeons Harold Yang, MD, PhD, and Seth Narins, MD, PhD, recently performed the 1,000th kidney transplant at Harrisburg Hospital. Since the PinnacleHealth Kidney Transplant Program launched in 2000, PinnacleHealth transplant patients continue to benefit from excellent outcomes that exceed national averages. "Graft or organ survival rate is one of our most important quality measures in addition to experience," explains Dr. Yang. "Our rate is 94%, higher than the national average. In addition, our team works hard to provide our patients and living donors with the best possible care, both pre- and post-transplant."

"It’s a privilege to work with our generous organ donors to save lives and be part of this life changing event for families." states Dr. Yang. "I am honored to be part of the PinnacleHealth team, giving patients hope, participating in living donation, paired exchanges, and offering minimally invasive surgical options for patient safety and faster recoveries."
The waiting time for a deceased donor kidney is an average of four to six years. PinnacleHealth specializes in living donor transplant. This type of transplant occurs when a living person volunteers to donate one of their kidneys to another person in need. Any person that is in good health can be evaluated as a potential living donor. Living donor transplantation has several advantages including reduced waiting time, longer organ life and convenience for the transplant recipient.
Michael Bracken of Ebensburg is a recent kidney recipient. He had suffered from hereditary polycystic kidney disease. His wife Lorie was his donor.
"My sister had done research on three transplant centers and recommended PinnacleHealth. My nephrologist confirmed the choice as well. We live three hours away, but we were willing to travel to go somewhere with a high organ survival rate," shares Bracken. "Once we met the staff at PinnacleHealth, we knew that we were absolutely in the right place. They are like family to us."
The PinnacleHealth Transplant team performs kidney and kidney/pancreas transplants, a treatment option for patients who have kidney failure related to Type I or juvenile onset diabetes. In addition, PinnacleHealth is a leader in Pennsylvania for paired exchange transplant. This is an important option for living donor and recipient pairs who are blood type or crossmatch incompatible. In a paired donor exchange, also known as a kidney swap, two kidney recipients essentially "swap" willing donors. Paired exchange transplant can take place between pairs within a single transplant center or between pairs at different transplant centers.
"If I wasn’t a match for my husband, I would have offered my kidney for a paired exchange," explains Lorie. "We are hoping our story encourages others to consider being a living donor. There are so many people waiting for kidneys."
Facts and Figures About Organ Donation:
  • 18 people die each day waiting for a lifesaving transplant
  • Currently, there are more the 117,000 people waiting on the National Transplant List
  • 1 organ and tissue donor can impact up to 50 lives through organ and tissue donation
  • Every 10 minutes, another name is added to the National Transplant list
  • In our region, 6,500 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant
For more information about organ donation and PinnacleHealth’s transplant program, visit