Christiana Care Kidney Transplant Program turns five

Christiana Care Kidney Transplant Program turns five

Jan. 15 marked the fifth anniversary of adult kidney transplants being performed in Delaware. To date, Christiana Care has performed 104 transplants, with the number of procedures increasing every year of the program.

A transplant program close to home is now a fact of life throughout Delaware. A second transplant clinic in Lewes allows patients from the central and southern counties in Delaware to be seen more easily by members of the team.

During the program’s early years, patients received postoperative care in the Transitional Surgery Unit. Over the past year, the team has educated and formed close working relationships with the nursing staff on unit 4C, which allows our kidney-transplant patients to return directly to a private room on a regular nursing unit. The 4C staff, under the direction of Sharon Urban, MSN, has delivered excellent care to patients.

S. John Swanson III, M.D.
S. John Swanson III, M.D.

“Being close and homegrown is very important,” says S. John Swanson III, M.D., FACS, chief of the Christiana Care Kidney Transplant Program. “The familiarity of people from Delaware taking care of people who also are from Delaware is very comforting.”

The same multidisciplinary team members follow transplant recipients after discharge from their transplant hospital stay. After discharge, patients may opt for follow-up care through a collaborative project with Christiana Care Visiting Nurse Association, which extends the support systems for transplant patients by providing home care visits immediately after discharge and continuing as needed until they are confident in caring for their new kidneys.

Dr. Swanson became Christiana Care’s first chief of Transplant Surgery in July 2006, after serving as chief of Kidney Transplant Surgery at Walter Reed Army Hospital. He retired from the U.S. Army, Medical Corps, as a colonel in 2005. Dr. Swanson performed the 100th kidney transplant procedure at Christiana Care in September 2011.

Kidney Transplant Program by the numbers (as of Dec. 2011)
1,100 Patients evaluated.
413 Patients currently on the waiting list.
104 Transplants performed.
44 Average number of months patients wait for organ donation.
71 Transplants enabled by deceased donors.
33 Transplants enabled by living donors.
5 Transplants directed by families to a known recipient.
4 Average days of hospital stay.
1 National Kidney Registry Paired Donation Program cases completed.
1 National Kidney Registry Paired Donation Program cases waiting.