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Carilion Clinic to Start Kidney Transplant Program

Carilion Clinic has announced it intends to start an adult kidney transplant program at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

“We’re committed to providing our neighbors and community with more access to advanced medical services,” said CEO Nancy Howell Agee. “The need is clear, and we’re fortunate to have the talented team required for this transplant program.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports one in seven U.S. adults has chronic kidney (otherwise known as renal) disease, and it is the country’s tenth leading cause of death. The need for kidney transplantation is projected to grow more than 25% by 2025 and by 32% each year for the next 10 years in Carilion’s service area alone.

Severe kidney damage and low organ function require dialysis, permanently changing a patient’s quality of life and life expectancy. While medication can reduce disease progression, transplantation is the next step for patients to take to improve their lives. Patients with end-stage kidney conditions in the region require dialysis and must travel to healthcare systems to the northeast and south to receive transplants.

“Carilion’s Community Health Assessments and other analyses have shown the leading reason late-stage renal disease patients fail to obtain transplants is difficulty accessing transplantation services. Currently, patients in our area have to travel two hours or more for this life-saving care,” said Rawle “Tony” Seupaul, M.D., chief physician executive for Carilion. “Our demographic data also shows us that renal disease disproportionately impacts patients of color and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. This new program will be a lifeline to those patients when it’s fully up and running.”

If approved through Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need (COPN) process, the Carilion kidney transplant program will be Virginia’s eighth transplant center and the only one serving western Virginia. The program would use existing operating rooms at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, allowing the program to ramp up quickly.

“As many as 5,000 people in our region are experiencing advanced stages of kidney disease – more than any other region in Virginia – and around 2,300 people in the state are on the transplant list currently, often staying on the list for two or more years before they can schedule a transplant,” said David Salzberg, M.D., Carilion’s fellowship-trained transplant surgeon who will lead the program. “A Southwest Virginia transplant center will allow Carilion to better help our patients with complex conditions by providing them the vital, innovative care they need close to home.”

Anyone interested in receiving updates about Carilion’s plans for a kidney transplant program can email [email protected] to stay in touch.

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