Race against time for life changing double kidney transplant

Four male and three female members of the Fiona Stanley Hospital renal team stand in a garden
August 11, 2020

In a first for Western Australia (WA), two Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) patients have each received a kidney transplanted from the one interstate donor, in what was literally a one in a million match.

It followed a huge logistical and time sensitive exercise to transport the organs so the two women aged 30 and 46, could have the life-changing surgery.

Both women, who were undergoing dialysis and on the transplant waitlist for a number of years, previously had transplants which failed and were considered “highly sensitised” with very few potential donors providing a match.

That was until they came up on the National Organ Matching System as a perfect match with a deceased donor who uniquely had a rare immunological typing that favoured allocation to both women.

It then became a race against time to get the kidneys to FSH from the other side of the country.

With no commercial flights to Perth within the necessary timeframe due to COVID-19, a plane was specially chartered to collect the kidneys - a process normally reserved to transport hearts and occasionally livers.

FSH Renal Consultant Dr Jagadish Jamboti said transport of the organs was organised overnight with the two patients in theatre first thing the following morning for transplant surgery.

“It’s the first time that this process has been used for kidneys in WA, particularly two of them for two individual recipients,” Dr Jamboti said.

“It’s a great example of clinical team effort, hospital executive support and optimal patient benefits – it was the best possible outcome.

“These women had a one in a million chance of receiving a transplant, now to see them both potentially having freedom from dialysis and getting their lives back, is very rewarding for all involved.”

For more information on organ donation visit DonateLife (external site)