Romanian surgeons perform world's first half-kidney transplant

UPDATED: 09:19, June 22, 2007

A three-year-old boy suffering from kidney failure received a part of his mother's kidney in the world's first half-kidney transplant, a Romanian surgeon said on Thursday.

The operation was performed Wednesday at the Urology and Kidney Transplant Institute in the northwestern city Cluj-Napoca by a team of doctors headed by Mihai Lucan.

One day after the intervention, both the mother and the child were feeling well, according to Dr. Lucan.

Dr. Lucan explained that although an entire kidney was taken from the mother, the organ could not be transplanted as such to the recipient because it was not compatible with his body.

After the kidney was extracted from the donor, it underwent extra-body microsurgery and was sectioned in two; the child received some two-thirds of the kidney and the rest was removed because it was not viable.

The little Bucharest-born patient was receiving peritoneal dialysis six times a day since the age of nine months and looks like a one-year-old boy. The operation was seven hours long and the kidney "built" by doctors started to work after the transplant.

The young mother decided to donate a kidney to her son in full agreement with her husband. The boy's father, Bogdan Ionescu, said the really important thing is that the operation was a success, that the child feels well and will lead a normal life and that his wife is OK.

Only partial liver and lung transplants were performed before in the world. Professor Mihai Lucan says 16 in 1,000 babies are born with kidney failure in the world. To save them, there is the variant of dialysis or transplant, but chances to find a kidney to match the little patients are very low.

Source: Xinhua

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