Pyaare Lal, a 54-year-old man who was suffering from kidney failure, is a health man now! His elder brother offered to donate one of his kidneys. However, a blood group mismatch rendered their kidneys incompatible. But for doctors at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi, that was not a restraint at all ! They conducted the transplant using the incompatible kidney, successfully and gave the patient a new lease of life !
""We used a special technique to prime the recipient's defence system to accept an organ with a mismatched blood type. The process involved blood cleansing through plasma exchange that rids the system of cells that would have rejected the previously incompatible kidney. We administered the patient with a drug called Rituximab to reduce antibodies in his blood. Pyaare's blood type is O while his brother's is type B,"" said Dr Sanjiv Jasuja, Senior Consultant Nephrologist at Apollo. Numerous patients with kidney failure are not able to undergo transplant due to the non-availability of donors with a matching blood group, he said.
Dr Gaurav Sagar, another senior doctor, said transplants involving incompatible kidneys have been carried out successfully in Mumbai and Ahmedabad and foreign countries like Japan. ""The five-year survival rate of patients in such cases is almost as good as in regular transplants with matching donors,"" Sagar claimed.
Meanwhile, Lal, who was on dialysis for a year, couldn't be happier. ""My wife and sister-in-law have the same blood group as me. However, they couldn't donate their kidneys because of health problems like high blood pressure. I had lost all hope and thought that I was going to die. Even my brother, though willing, could not donate the organ. The doctors have given me a new lease of life,"" said the patient, a farmer based in Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh. The surgery cost Rs 10 lakh approximately.
In India, approximately 1,75,000 kidneys, 50,000 hearts and 50,000 livers are needed for transplantation every year, said Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals. ""There is a need to promote organ donation,"" he said. At present, only 0.1% of all donations are from cadavers.