Thursday, 12 April 2018

Second Transplant with a Difference

Some patients receive a kidney transplant and get along okay after that. Some are unlucky and need a second kidney transplant years later - a worrying situation when they may have struggled for years to find a suitable doner the first time.

But some kidneys are special.

And the one that Vertis Boyce received was very special indeed. The kidney was first transplanted two years ago from a 17-year-old girl into a man in his early 20s, who had just unexpectedly died in a car accident. Boyce would be its second recipient.

Boyce had by then been on dialysis for nine-and-a-half years and on the transplant list for nearly as long. Waiting for the right organ to become available. And at 69, wondering if she would ever get her chance.

For her surgeon, Jeffrey Veale, it was special too, it was only the second time he had re-used a transplanted kidney - since then he has carried out a third such transplant. THREE very special kidneys.

You can read about these special organs here.

Just how often could a kidney be transplanted? Scar tissue from several operations may cause problems, as happened in this case. But could a kidney be re-used three times? Four times? Live on for many, many decades each time?

Well, you might want to read this news item that we reported on back in August 2016 - the 100-year-old kidney!