Kidney waiting lists could be cut thanks to new op

GRATEFUL Tracy West received a kidney from her father. Picture: Sarah Standing (131439-6829)
GRATEFUL Tracy West received a kidney from her father. Picture: Sarah Standing (131439-6829)

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KIDNEY waiting lists could be dramatically reduced thanks to a procedure being carried out at Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra Hospital.

The ground-breaking treatment means a recipient’s body will not reject the organs if it comes from a donor who has a different blood group.

Previously donors and recipients had to be from the same blood group.

The hospital in Cosham is one of only a handful of centres in the UK that can perform the procedure, called an ABO incompatible transplantation (ABOi).

ABOi involves removing antibodies from plasma, and replacing them with harmless proteins and fluid.

Currently, about 240 patients in the Portsmouth area are awaiting a kidney.

Now, after the third successful ABOi operation at QA, surgeons are asking more people to come forward to help cut the waiting list.

Tracy West, 51, of Bryher Island, Port Solent, had the operation in April this year.

She said: ‘About seven years ago I was suffering from migraines, and my blood pressure was sky high. Hospital tests revealed I had end stage renal failure. I was stunned.’

Despite her diagnosis, Tracy carried on working and was on partial dialysis in order to retain her independence. But then her condition started to deteriorate quickly, and she needed to go on full dialysis.

Her father Michael, 71, who does not share her blood group, read about the ABOi and contacted QA.

Tracy had three plasma exchanges before taking her father’s kidney successfully. She said: ‘I have felt incredible since the operation. There are so many people waiting for kidneys, and this procedure could help so many people.’

Dr Jasna Macanovic, consultant nephrologist at QA, is leading the procedure.

She said: ‘In the past, the body would reject a kidney that was a different blood type, as it would be recognised as a foreign body. This would mean the kidney would fail immediately.

‘But things have moved forward. Now we can do a plasma exchange.

‘This stops the body from rejecting the kidney after it has been donated.

‘The more experience we gain from this, the more people we can help.’

After the surgery, the recipient will need to take tablets for the rest of their lives – but this is no different to someone who has received an organ from the same blood group.

To find out more, call (023) 9228 6000.

National transplant group backs call to cut wait list

NHS Blood and Transplant hopes medical advancements mean the organ waiting list will be cut.

James Neuberger, associate medical director for organ donation and transplantation at NHSBT, said: ‘Advances in treatment have allowed some people suffering from kidney disease to receive a transplant across the traditional ABO blood group barriers.

‘This requires expert clinicians and scientists to work closely together but outcomes are good and it helps overcome the shortage of organs.’