Chennai Man Walks With 5 Kidneys After Third Transplant
A 41-year-old man, who underwent a third kidney transplant, walked out of the hospital with five kidneys. On Aug 10, after his first set of post-operation checks, surgeons at Madras Medical Mission said he is recovering well. The transplant team also said they were now confident that a third renal transplantation constitutes a valid therapeutic option for select patients.

In 1994, when the patient was 14, his kidneys failed, prompting his first transplant that lasted nine years. The second was in 2005 and was functional for 12 years. But, for the next four years, he had to be strapped to a dialysis machine nearly three times a week. In patients with chronic kidney disorder, kidneys stop filtering out body waste through urine. As the disease progresses, the kidney’s function is taken over by dialysis machines.

“His first and second transplant failed due to his uncontrolled hypertension. To complicate things more, he underwent a triple bypass surgery to repair blocks in the heart in March at our hospital,” said transplant surgeon Dr S Saravanan. Though the best option doctors could offer was transplant, the procedure was complex. First, the patient had two native kidneys and two donor kidneys in his body. Now doctors had to find room for a fifth.

“Connecting them with the blood vessels was even more challenging. With four dysfunctional kidneys, there was hardly any width left in the arteries or veins,” he said. Transplant surgeons don’t remove the dysfunctional kidneys to make space because of risk of profuse bleeding. “When that happens, the patient will require blood transfusion. This could lead to the production of antibodies which could cause rejection of the new kidney,” Saravanan said.

During the surgery on July 10, the team decided to place the kidney close to the intestine and connect the blood vessels closer to the arteries and veins of the heart. The renal artery was connected at the point of bifurcation of aorta and the renal vein was linked to inferior vena cava. “This transperitoneal approach is rarely performed,” he said.

Doctors said that they will continue to closely monitor his condition for a few more months to ensure his immune system does not fight the new organ or his blood pressure does not cause trouble once again.

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