World Organ Day: All you need to know about kidney swap transplantation

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The first Kidney swap Transplantation was reported at a public hospital in Maharashtra after the 2011 amendment to the Transplantation of Human Organs

Photo for representation. Wikipedia Commons

New Delhi: The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs in the human body that serve a single function: to keep the composition of blood in the body balanced to maintain good health. However, when your kidney cannot filter out the impurities in the blood the way it should, it causes damage to the kidney for a longer term and starts causing kidney disease. Some even need regular dialysis or transplantation for the organ to function.

Cases of end-stage kidney disease that need a kidney transplant are estimated to affect between 151 and 232 people per million in India. If this data is averaged, it is predicted that over 220,000 persons in India require kidney transplantation. In comparison, roughly 7500 kidney transplants are currently performed in India at 250 renal transplant clinics. Ninety percent are from live donors, while ten percent are from deceased organ donors.

In the past, when treatment was limited, patients had to wait for years after getting dialysis until a kidney donor became available. There would be cases where, due to an incompatible blood type or an incompatible mismatch, nearly one-third of the patients would be unable to receive the kidney. The Kidney Swap transplantation was introduced to allow you to exchange kidneys with another pair in a similar situation, making transplantation possible. The most common reason for having a kidney transplant is a loss of kidney function, also termed kidney failure.

The first Kidney swap Transplantation was reported at a public hospital in Maharashtra after the 2011 amendment to the Transplantation of Human Organs. After two years of hard work and on the second attempt, India witnessed its first dominoswap kidney transplant surgery in June 2013, made possible by ASTRA.

The following steps can be considered while having a kidney swap transplantation:
• A swap transplant includes the exchange of organs between two families who are unable to give the organ to a member of their own family due to a blood type mismatch. This is often referred to as a paired exchange.
• This would reduce the organ shortage and raise transplant numbers legally. There is a mechanism in this system for organ sharing between two unrelated donor-recipient pairs.

Ever since kidney transplantation began in India in the 1970s, the country has been a leader in this sector on the Asian subcontinent since then. In the year 2021, the Kerela High Court ruled that “swap transplants” would be permissible even if each pair of donor recipients were not near relatives, provided there existed a special reason for the donor to donate an organ.

Kidney failure is a serious healthcare problem, and in certain cases, transplanting a new kidney is the only medical cure. It is estimated that less than 10% of patients with kidney failure receive a kidney transplant from a family member, and 1% receive a kidney from a deceased donor. Hence, methods like swap transplantations can help people without going through the pain of dialysis and being on a waitlist for a long time.

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