Cross-kidney transplant opens up opportunities for organ sourcing

Last update: 09:10 | 15/02/2017

VietNamNet Bridge - The success of the first cross kidney transplant case has brought more hope to patients as the sources of organs for transplant will be expanded.

The surgeons and two patients

The Cho Ray Hospital in HCMC, one of the most prestigious hospitals in Vietnam, on February 7 announced it successfully carried out the first cross kidney transplant surgery in Vietnam.

The two female patients were Le Thi Anh Hong, 31, from Kien Giang province and Vu Thi Hue, 32, from Dak Nong. Both of them suffered from end-stage chronic kidney failure and they had to have dialysis for a long time at Cho Ray before they underwent the transplant surgery.

Hong’s stepfather wanted to donate hid kidney to her, while Hue could receive kidney from her biological mother. However, tests showed that in both cases, recipients’ antibodies were against antigens of the donors, which meant high failure risks for the transplant.

However, surgeons discovered that all the four recipients and donors had B group of blood. Therefore, they persuaded the relatives of the two patients to exchange donors. This means that the kidney donated by Hong’s stepfather would be transplanted into Hue, and vice versa, Hue’s mother’s kidney would be used for Hong.

Because of the special characteristics of the cases, the transplant of both patients had to be carried out at the same time on January 11, 2017 by two teams of surgeons. Both of the kidneys began operation right after the blood vessel clamp was opened. Two days after the surgery, the kidney functions of the two patients were back to normal. The patients could leave the hospital after seven days.

The success of the first cross kidney transplant case has brought more hope to patients as the sources of organs for transplant will be expanded.

According to Thai Minh Sam, head of Urology Surgery Department at Cho Ray Hospital, cross kidney transplant is a method applied in specific cases when the recipient has antibodies against antigens of the donor. The first surgery of this kind in the world was carried out in 1991 in South Korea. Since then, the method has been applied by many kidney transplant centers in the world. Thousands of surgeries of this kind are carried out every year.

Also according to Sam, it is not too difficult to conduct cross kidney transplant operation. In developed countries, surgeons can conduct intercontinental kidney transplant surgery. The kidneys donated by people in the US, for example, can be transplanted to the receivers in France.

In Vietnam, tissues and organs for transplantation are very scarce. A report says 16,000 patients are waiting for transplant surgeries, but it’s unclear when they can find suitable organs. Many patients died because they had to wait too long.

Sam said at Cho Ray, 95 percent of organs are donated by live people, while only 5 percent are from brain-dead people. Meanwhile, the figure is 40-60 percent in the world. 

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Chi Mai

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