Blood group compatibility has been a basic requirement for successful kidney transplantation. Now with the advent of new technology, kidney transplants across blood groups are also possible.

Claiming to have conducted the first such ABO-incompatible kidney transplantation across blood groups in the State, nephrologists from Narayana Hrudayalaya on Saturday said such transplants would reduce the need for kidney transplants from unrelated donors.

Giving details about the case, consultant nephrologists, Lloyd Vincent and Ishthiaque Ahmed told presspersons that Fatima Zohra Jabeen (46) with B positive group donated a kidney to her 23-year-old son Syed Ameerul Khadri with O positive blood group. The surgery was done at the Narayana Institute for Kidney Disease and Transplantation on January 3 and the patient was discharged on January 11.

Basic requirement

“The basic requirement for successful kidney transplantation is a match of the blood groups. A majority of individuals awaiting transplant do not have a blood group compatible donor and hence are denied the benefit of transplantation,” Dr. Ahmed said.

Advances in technology

But now advances in technology and more potent immunosuppressive drugs had made blood group incompatible transplantation possible, with the same level of success as compatible transplants, he explained.

Cost factor

“The only worrying factor is the huge cost involved in such a surgery. The total cost of this surgery was Rs. 14 lakh of which Rs. 6 lakh was paid by the patient’s family and the rest by the hospital. The cost of an ABO-compatible transplant ranges between Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 3 lakh in various hospitals,” Dr. Ahmed said.

Dr. Vincent said three more such surgeries were lined up in the hospital, and added that this would enable relatives with different blood groups to donate organs to patients in the family.

Validating the hospital’s claims, G.K. Venkatesh, head of the State Authorisation Committee for Organ Transplants, said although such transplants had been done elsewhere in the country it was a first in Karnataka.

Sudarshan Ballal, medical director of Manipal Hospitals, also seconded the hospital’s claim, adding: “Apart from the huge cost, the risk of rejection is high.”

However, Dr. Ahmed and Dr. Vincent said if the kidney was accommodated and if it adjusts to the patient’s body in the first two weeks, there was likely to be no problem after that.

ABO-incompatible transplantation done in Bangalore hospital