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Penn Transplant Symposium for Nephrology Nurses Offers Interactive Agenda and Credits

Headshot of Dr. Roy Bloom of Penn MedicineNursing and healthcare professionals who care for kidney transplant and dialysis patients are invited to attend Penn Medicine’s Annual Kidney Transplant Symposium Tuesday, October 23, 2018.

“The Symposium’s main objective is to provide allied health professionals an update on what’s new in transplantation, and on new innovations,” said Roy D. Bloom, MD, Medical Director, Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “Transplantation is multidisciplinary,” he continued, “so presentations will be made by physicians, social workers and nurse practitioners -- specialists who work in nephrology offices, in dialysis, in transplantation.”

Hepatitis C, the Opioid Crisis and Transplant: 2018 Agenda Highlights

The session’s agenda is an update that spans the phases of kidney transplantation from evaluation to listing to surgery to the post-transplant phase, Dr. Bloom explained. “This year our program will highlight the opioid epidemic’s impact on organ donation and kidney transplantation.” 

A lot has happened since the symposia began less than a decade ago, according to Dr. Bloom.

“Getting on the waitlist for a kidney from a deceased donor is the only option for patient without a living donor,” Dr. Bloom continued, “As demand continues to outpace the deceased donor organ supply and waiting times get longer, growing attention has focused on using organs from deceased donors with either detectable hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection or with no detectable infection but with lifestyle risk factors for HIV and hepatitis.”

In recent years, two developments related to HCV have altered the landscape for nephrology nurses in kidney transplantation: pharmaceutical companies devised a new class of drugs called direct-acting antiviral agents (DAAs) to eliminate the HCV virus from the body, and at about the same time, the opioid epidemic increased the number of individuals infected with hepatitis C. In an addendum to the latter, Dr. Bloom noted a dramatic increase in the proportion of deceased donors with HCV in the past four years. 

Insights from Penn’s THINKER trial

Over the past two years, the Penn Kidney Transplant team performed the initial phase of the THINKER trial. In this nationally acclaimed trial, the kidneys of hep C-infected deceased donors were transplanted into 20 non-infected recipients. THINKER was inspired, in part, as an effort to offset the scarcity of donor kidneys in Philadelphia, which has one of the highest average wait times in the nation (>6 yrs) for kidney transplantation, according to the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR)

All 20 recipients of infected kidneys in THINKER contracted the virus, and all were cured with the new hep C medications: These patients were free of dialysis within months of signing up for the trial, and are living today with functioning kidney transplants.

The implications of THINKER for nephrology nursing will be considered at the Annual Kidney Transplant Nursing Symposium, including assessment parameters for potential kidney recipients, an overview of the DAAs, and new tracking technologies, said Dr. Bloom.  

Event Locations

The event will be held at the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, Smilow Center for Translational Research Auditorium at the University of Pennsylvania, the symposium will be simulcast to three other Penn locations. 

The interactive symposium will allow participants to ask questions of the presenters in real time. 

Simulcast locations include: 

  • the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute Conference Room in Lancaster, PA;
  • Penn Medicine Cherry Hill in Cherry Hill, NJ; and  
  • Penn Medicine Princeton Health’s William A. and Joan L. Schreyer Education Center in Plainsboro, NJ

Registration closes on Tuesday, October 16, 2018. 

CEU Credit

This year, social work CEUs are being offered in addition to credit for dialysis staff and nursing CEU and CNU.*

Penn Medicine Nursing is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, as accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Approval #124-3-H-15.

*PA Social Work credits are only available in Philadelphia location.

This course, Kidney Transplant Symposium, Approval # 181707-715, provided by Penn Transplant Institute, is approved for continuing education by the New Jersey Social Work Continuing Education Approval Collaborative, which is administered by NASW-NJ. CE Approval Collaborative Approval Period: September 18, 2018 through August 31, 2020. New Jersey social workers will receive six (6) clinical continuing education hours for participating in this course.

For more information, contact Margaret Leid, Transplant Outreach Coordinator at 

About this Blog

The Penn Physician Blog is a resource for health care professionals featuring Penn Medicine physicians and their research, innovations, programs and events. 

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