A 56-year-old doctor from Bengaluru has got a fresh lease of life after his wife donated her kidney despite having a different blood group.
The husband's blood was B -ve and his wife's A -ve. Blood groups not matching in kidney donation is a rarity.
In view of extreme shortage of organ donors with the same blood group and the rise in incidence of end-stage renal disease, the ABO - acronym for the three different blood groups - incompatible transplants are said to be a boon for many patients in dire need of kidneys. In such cases, the transplant is done only when the antibody level in the patient is of acceptable range.
In the highly technical procedure conducted at Columbia Asia Hospital, Yeshwantpur, the antibodies in the patient that could react against the donor's blood group were removed three days prior to the transplant. "After the transplant, the patient was put on immuno-suppressant medicine to prevent any infection. A couple of days after the procedure, the body accepts the organ as its own, and there won't be antibody-antigen reactions," said Dr Deepak Kumar C, chief consultant, nephrologist and transplant physician, who treated the patient. He has performed seven similar cases in the last one year.
Dr GC Sumathi Kumar, 56, who retired as an anaesthetist from government service, was shocked when he was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure. The doctor also battled heart disease, and diabetes.
"It was not easy to think of transplant as my relatives' blood group didn't match mine. My wife's blood group too was different. But I had heard of kidney transplants between persons with incompatible blood groups. There is lack of awareness among doctors about this novel procedure," said Dr Kumar.
On dialysis for a month, he underwent the transplant in the last week of June. His wife, Vanitha MN, 45, a homemaker, said she was happy to donate her kidney and save her husband.
Dr Ajit K Huilgol, head of transplant surgery, who performed the transplant, said Vanitha had two arteries in her right kidney and three arteries in the lef, as against the normal one artery in one kidney. "We chose to go ahead with the right kidney that had two arteries as that was surgically feasible," Dr Huilgol explained.
Incidentally, Dr Kumar's father too had undergone a kidney transplant and the procedure was conducted by Dr Huilgol.
While conventional a kidney transplant costs Rs 7 lakh, the ABO-incompatible kidney transplant is priced around Rs 9 lakh.