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Drs. Roy Bloom and Navdeep Kaur said the local transplant clinics aim to increase access and convenience for patients.

Penn Medicine’s Lancaster transplant clinics aim to increase access and convenience for local patients.

Penn opened a liver clinic here in March 2015 and a kidney/pancreas clinic in August. The clinics, at 554 N. Duke St., third floor, enable local patients to receive pre-transplant evaluation and testing, along with some follow-up care, in Lancaster.
Roy D. Bloom, M.D., Medical Director, Kidney/Pancreas Transplant Program, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, said demand for the Lancaster kidney clinic’s services is strong. The clinic recently expanded its hours to offer evaluations one full day each month.
“Penn has the largest transplant center in the region, with excellent outcomes,” Dr. Bloom said. “One of our goals is to improve access for patients who live outside of Philadelphia.”
Dr. Navdeep Kaur, a transplant nephrologist at Hypertension Kidney Specialists with an adjunct appointment at Penn, evaluates potential candidates at the Lancaster kidney clinic.

“Our relationship with HKS and having a transplant nephrologist embedded in the group minimizes the number of times that local patients need to come to Philadelphia,” Dr. Bloom said. “Once patients are stable, the expectation is that most of their care will be back with Dr. Kaur at HKS in Lancaster.”

Penn kidney transplant program facts

  • Penn’s kidney transplant program, one of the oldest in the United States, started about 50 years ago.

  • Penn’s program exceeded 5,000 kidney transplants by 2014. Penn surgeons performed 205 kidney transplants in 2015.

  • More than 100,000 people in the United States are currently waiting for a kidney. The average wait time in our region is about five to seven years.

  • Penn surgeons transplant kidneys from both living and deceased donors. Living donors are the best option because the transplant can happen more quickly.

  • Penn also offers “paired kidney exchange,” which can decrease the wait for patients without a compatible living donor. In paired exchange, kidneys are exchanged between two incompatible donor/recipient pairs, making two compatible living donor transplants.

  • About 96 percent of kidneys transplanted at Penn are still functioning properly one year later, compared to 95 percent nationally.

  • About 91 percent of kidneys transplanted at Penn are still functioning properly three years later, compared to 87 percent nationally.

Transplant is the treatment of choice for kidney failure, in terms of life expectancy and quality of life, but not everyone is a candidate. Meera Ragoopath, BSN, RN, Kidney Transplant Coordinator, oversees the evaluation clinic, which typically sees about eight potential transplant candidates each month.
Patients, who are scheduled for 9 a.m. or 1 p.m., meet with Dr. Kaur, Ragoopath, a physician assistant and a social worker, and participate in a group education session, along with an evaluation and discussion of testing needs. Penn’s kidney selection committee meets weekly to discuss all newly evaluated patients.

“I really appreciate this opportunity to help bring Penn’s transplant services to Lancaster,” Dr. Kaur said. “Patients are very grateful for the added convenience of accessing these services close to home.”
Low-risk patients may have pre-transplant testing done locally. Dr. Justin Roberts of The Heart Group of LG Health/Penn Medicine also sees some local patients for cardiology clearance.
Penn’s Lancaster concierge liaison is available to assist local patients with travel to Philadelphia. In addition, The Penn Clyde F. Barker Transplant House offers patients an affordable lodging option during periods of frequent post-transplant appointments.
“The expectation is that patients should have relatively little disruption to their lives in order to have access to our programs,” Dr. Bloom said. “There certainly has been great demand in Lancaster, and we do hope to expand.”

  • To refer a patient to Penn’s kidney transplant program, call 215-662-6200 or complete an online or fax referral form. The Penn team typically suggests a referral for transplant when the GFR is 20 or less.   
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