What are Swap Transplants?

26/07/2023

Patients who do not have a suitable living donor or are unlikely to get a decreased donor transplant in time can explore the opportunity of a swap transplant

Sometimes, one of patient’s family members is found to be suitable and willing for liver donation, but not compatible with blood group. In such circumstances, a paired donation or swap transplant may be considered.

In this type of transplant, two families with suitable living donors exchange their donors because the blood type is not a good match for their own patient, but are found to be appropriate for each other’s patients. The blood typing and matching between the donor and the patient is provided in the table below.

Donor Blood Group Recipient (Patient) Blood Group
O O, A, B or AB
A A or AB
B B or AB
AB AB

To understand clearly the concept of a swap transplant, an example is provided below:

Family 1 needs a liver transplant

  • Patient blood type is A

  • Donor blood type B

Transplant is unable to go ahead as donor blood type should be an A or AB (see table)

At the same time, Family 2 is also awaiting a liver transplant

  • Patient blood type is B

  • Donor blood type is A

Transplant unable to go ahead as donor blood type should be a B or AB (see table)

However, if all other parameters are adequate including having ideal liver volume and anatomy and the families are willing, a swap (an exchange) transplant of donors is carried out. Once the liver transplant team is satisfied, the swap liver transplants are performed simultaneously. This way both patients can undergo transplantation.

With the advances in liver transplantation, swap transplants have become a common phenomenon, offering hope to patients with incompatible blood types and limited donor options. Individuals in Hyderabad seeking liver surgery, liver transplant surgery, or Multiorgan transplant procedures can find reputable healthcare facilities specializing in these complex surgical interventions to address their medical needs effectively. Thorough evaluation and scrutiny by the liver transplant team and the authorization committee ensure the appropriateness and safety of such procedures.

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