Fri, Nov 21, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Kidney successfully retransplanted

WHAT GOES AROUND:A kidney donated nine years ago has been transplanted into a new recipient, in one of few such procedures successfully carried out worldwide

By Lin Meng-ting and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A patient surnamed Lee, right, gives a bouquet of flowers to Chi Mei Hospital surgery department head Tian Yu-feng on Nov. 7 to thank Tian for a successful kidney transplant.

Photo: Lin Meng-ting, Taipei Times

The nation’s organ donor system allowed a man surnamed Chen (陳) to prolong his life by receiving a kidney transplant, and in death enabled him to pass on the benefit by donating the organ to another.

Chen received a kidney nine years ago from a man surnamed Chang (張), who died in a car accident.

However, Chen, at 54, suffered a brain aneurysm resulting in brain death and his family decided to cease maintaining his vitals and to donate his liver and kidneys.

The benefactor, surnamed Lee (李), who formerly had to undergo dialysis three times a week, said he is grateful to have undergone the successful transplant. Despite the need for lifelong use of immunosuppressors after receiving the kidney, Lee said that he did not now need to rely on dialysis to stay alive.

“It’s like being alive all over again,” Lee said.

According to Chi Mei Hospital surgery department head Tian Yu-feng (田宇峰), the re-use of a formerly transplanted organ was a first for the team and worldwide there are less than 10 examples of similar procedures.

The kidney that Chen received functioned at optimal capacity over the nine years he had it, meaning the organ remained healthy enough that it could be transplanted again, Tian said.

Medical records show that transplanted kidneys generally function for about 15 years before patients’ immune systems finally reject the organ, Tian said, adding that there were records of transplanted organs lasting 42 years.

In Taiwan, kidneys are most in need for transplants,with livers and hearts second and third, Tian said, adding that organ donation is not common in Taiwan.

More than 6,400 patients are waiting for a kidney transplant, but only 88 people have donated kidneys for the procedure so far this year, Tian said, adding that there have been 161 completed transplant procedures to date.

Tian said an organ transplant should be regarded as a last resort, and that people should take better care of their kidneys.

Avoiding taking medication from unknown sources and maintaining a regular schedule is the best way, Tian said.

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