Category: Transplants

Jose Maya (left) and Santiago Mejia are owners of the Cafe Maya restaurant on San Antonio’s west side. The two men participated in a living kidney donor exchange at University Health System’s Transplant Center.

How transplant patients are getting organs sooner and living longer

Categories: Surgery  /  Transplants

They wanted to donate kidneys to their loved ones, but didn’t match. So they joined a paired organ exchange. When Jose Maya’s husband Santiago Mejia needed a kidney transplant to survive, Maya didn’t hesitate. He offered to donate one of his own kidneys, knowing he could live with just one. The bad news: through blood and tissue tests, Maya learned he was not a match. The good news: Mejia’s medical team at University Health System’s Transplant Center said there was another option besides possibly spending years on the kidney wait list. Maya, 27, and Mejia, 45, could join a group …Read More >

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Summer fun for kids on dialysis

Categories: Children's Health  /  News  /  Transplants

You might think that having to go to dialysis multiple times a week might prevent a kid from attending camp. You would think wrong. This year, six patients from University Health System — two from dialysis and four from transplant — went to Camp Reynal and had a blast. “It is quite fun. I get to meet a lot of other kids; they have the same issues as me. It creates a family,” said Gabrielle Sanchez, who has attended for four years. “It is super-exciting to go every year. There’s a new addition to the camp each year; this year …Read More >

Diego Smith, 15 is undergoing dialysis at University Hospital while waiting for a kidney transplant

When a kid needs a kidney — again

Categories: Transplants

When a child suffers from kidney failure, he or she is placed on the transplant list to locate a suitable donor organ. Family and friends often step forward to be tested as living donors, to speed up that search. But sometimes — especially if they’ve had an earlier transplant that failed after a few years — finding a match becomes a lot harder. Meet Jack Buller, age 9; Diego Smith, 15; and Angelica Cantu, 18. All have had a kidney transplant at some point in their young lives that later failed. To survive, all are undergoing dialysis treatment — an artificial process …Read More >

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Alma Arellano, 1, who received a living donor liver transplant at University Hospital

A selfless act for a gravely ill child

Categories: Children's Health  /  News  /  Transplants

Six weeks after she was born, Alma Arellano of Brownsville was diagnosed with biliary atresia, a serious liver disorder in which the bile ducts aren’t working properly. Within days, she underwent surgery at University Hospital to restore the flow of bile from her liver. While the ducts were repaired, Alma developed a series of infections that eventually caused her liver to fail. And because of her tiny size, it proved difficult to find a size-matched deceased donor liver to transplant into her. “She was literally slipping away from us,” said Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, the Carlos and Malú Alvarez University Distinguished …Read More >

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Colorful art of the kidneys

After a kidney transplant, the right care

Categories: News  /  Transplants

It once was pretty unusual to encounter someone with a transplanted kidney. Not anymore. Last year, more than 19,000 kidney transplants were performed across the country — a number that has grown in each of the last four years. That means a greater chance that community physicians without special training in transplant medicine might find themselves providing care for one or more of these patients. But while kidney transplants are more common, managing the care of transplant patients remains just as complex. Patients take a number of medications and follow dietary advice to avoid rejection of their new kidney. That …Read More >

Judge Benton Eskew smiles with the Leland family

A new kidney and a new life

Categories: Children's Health  /  News  /  Transplants

Last fall, University Health System sent out an urgent public plea for someone with a big heart to step forward and donate a kidney to 5-year-old Leland — a child in foster care who had been on dialysis most of his life. Leland has never been able to swim or eat certain foods, like cheese sticks and oranges. His plan, “when I get my kidney,” was to go to a water park and hit the slide. But he was nearing the end of his body’s ability to undergo life-saving dialysis treatments. When the call went out in November, more than …Read More >

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A young boy wearing minions attire is on television with his mother in a medical facility

When a child’s Christmas wish is a transplant

Categories: Children's Health  /  News  /  Surgery  /  Transplants

While most of us are caught up in the whirlwind of last-minute shopping and holiday plans this week, nine children on the transplant list are hoping for a different and very generous gift — either from a living donor or from someone who has made the decision to donate their organs after passing away. Most of these children must come to University Hospital three times a week and spend several hours connected to a dialysis machine to survive. Dialysis is an artificial process that does the work of healthy kidneys to filter toxins from the blood. “Dialysis is a blessing because …Read More >

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A close up of a test tube tray containing a number of purple-tipped vacutainer tubes, with green tubes in the background

Finding hepatitis C

Categories: Cancer  /  Infections  /  News  /  Research  /  Surgery  /  Transplants

All Baby Boomers should be screened for hepatitis C, according to federal recommendations. That’s because an estimated three-quarters of infections are in people born between 1945 and 1965, and most patients don’t know they’re infected. So far, most of that screening has taken place in clinics and doctors’ offices. But a newly published pilot study at University Hospital found that screening hospital patients for hepatitis C can catch many infections that outpatient testing misses. “We tested about 95 percent of the people who’d never been screened before,” said Dr. Barbara Turner, an internal medicine physician and professor of medicine at …Read More >

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A bottle of pills is spilled over with yellow and blue pills falling out

More good news for hepatitis C patients

Categories: Infections  /  News  /  Research  /  Transplants

In the latest of what has been a series of breakthroughs for hepatitis C patients over the past couple of years — many of them studies led by San Antonio researchers — two new papers published this week show a combination treatment cleared the virus in more than 90 percent of patients after 12 weeks. One international study led by Dr. Fred Poordad of the Texas Liver Institute and chief of hepatology at the UT Health Science Center, examined more than 400 patients without cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver. More than 300 had never been treated before for the …Read More >

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Two boys stand with the American and United Kingdom flags as they showcase the medals around their neck

A young transplant recipient takes on the world, one gold medal at a time

Categories: Children's Health  /  News  /  Transplants

After receiving a new liver at University Hospital as an infant, Hunter Messer has competed each year in the U.S. and World Transplant Games since age 8, and now is setting his sights on college. Hunter Messer sinks into a chair at the kitchen table of his family’s home, smiling and exhausted. Minutes earlier, the 17-year-old senior at Johnson High School wrapped up an intense game of three-on-three basketball in which he scored 49 points. “For the most part, I just live a normal life,” Hunter said. “And people can’t tell I had a transplant.” While Hunter is normal teenager, …Read More >

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