National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) celebrated its 1,000th kidney transplant yesterday.
The university hospital performed the first kidney transplant in Asia in 1968, and since 1988 — the year when the hospital started to keep records of and follow up on patients undergoing kidney transplants — surgeons at the hospital have successfully performed 1,000 kidney transplants as of Tuesday, of which 366 involved live donor transplants and 634 deceased donors, NTUH said.
Of the 1,000 kidney recipients, 778 are still alive, the hospital said, adding that the five-year survival rate of patients who have undergone kidney transplants at NTUH is an outstanding 95.2 percent.
The first ABO incompatible kidney transplantation — a procedure that allows an organ to be accepted even when blood types do not match — and cross-match-positive live donor kidney transplant were successfully carried out in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
In 2007, the first case involving simultaneous ABO incompatibility and a positive cross-match was performed.
In 2010, the hospital successfully matched a patient to a donor by using a fluorescent antibody technique to accurately determine the recipient’s antibody type.
There are still 6,067 people on the kidney transplant waiting list, and about 200 people donate their kidneys a year, according to the hospital.
Since organ donation has never been popular in Taiwan, many patients in need of healthy kidneys rely on their relatives.
Tsai Meng-kun (蔡孟昆), an attending surgeon who has been in charge of a majority of the kidney transplants performed at the hospital, said that in the past two years the number of kidney transplants from living donors has surpassed that of deceased donors.
However, Tsai added that the hospital initially expected to reach 1,000 only in the latter half of the year, and the early achievement was made possible by the example set by Tseng Yu-tzu’s (曾御慈) donation after she was fatally injured in a car accident and announced brain dead at the end of last month.
Tseng was an attending traumatology physician and an HIV care doctor at NTUH; her death was one of the triggers of the long discussed but only recently enacted revision to drunk driving laws, which has increased the penalties for drunk driving.
“We have organ donations every week since Tseng’s accident [and her subsequent donation of various parts of her body],” Tsai said.