Mayo Clinic doctors and surgeons have experience treating people who may benefit from an ABO incompatible kidney transplant. In an ABO incompatible kidney transplant, your donor's blood type and your blood type aren't compatible.
In the past, if your blood contained antibodies that reacted to your donor's blood type, the antibody reaction would immediately cause you to reject your transplant, and it would prevent a successful transplant. Until recently, the only option was to identify recipient-donor transplant pairs with compatible ABO blood types. However, ABO incompatible kidney transplant now is possible between some recipients and living donors. The option of having a living donor with a different blood type may reduce the waiting time for some people who are waiting for a kidney transplant.
Your transplant team gives you medical treatment before and after your kidney transplant to lower antibody levels in your blood and reduce your risk of rejecting your donor kidney. Treatment to help reduce your risk of rejection includes a process of removing antibodies from your blood (plasmapheresis), injecting antibodies into your body that protect you from infections (intravenous immunoglobulin), and providing other medications that protect your new kidney from antibodies.
Mayo Clinic researchers were among the first to develop treatments to counteract antibodies to prevent rejection of a donor kidney with an incompatible blood type. Researchers also have developed treatments to reduce rejection of a donor kidney when a recipient's antibodies react against a donor's tissue and cells (positive crossmatch kidney transplant). Researchers continue to study the effect of antibodies after transplant and potential treatments to lower antibody levels. The goal of research is to prevent rejection of a donor kidney.