Patients get more options

Nagpur resident Anand Newale, 40, has fresh hope that his two-year wait for a kidney donor will end soon and the painful tryst with dialysis would be over.

He recently registered his name with India’s first kidney swap transplant registry, which started functioning in January.

Situated in Chembur, the Apex Swap Transplant Registry (ASTR) caters to patients’ families who agree to swap kidneys. The stringent organ donation laws permit donation only by immediate family members or from a cadaver.

However, sometimes, family members cannot donate an organ to the patient owing to blood group incompatibility or lymphocyte cross match positivity.

This is where a kidney swap between two families comes into play allowing a member of one patient’s family to donate an organ to the other patient and vice versa.

The registry, which plays an important role in putting patients’ families in touch with each other, is gradually developing into a national database of donor-recipient pairs and promises to help find matches for them for the kidney exchanges.

An initiative of the not-for-profit organisation, Apex Kidney Foundation, the registry has received more than 60 registrations from across the country and has successfully matched six pairs.

“I am hoping that this swap registry will open up more options for me,” said Newale, who suffered a kidney failure at the age of 20 in 1991.

His mother donated a kidney to him but in 2009 it failed and since then he has been on dialysis.

“I had little hope this time as I was not getting a suitable donor. My mother-in-law, whose blood group is O (universal donor), was ready to donate a kidney but our lymphocyte cross match is positive,” said Newale. He was referred to ASTR through the Nagpur hospital where he was undergoing dialysis every week.

The ASTR is expected to cut the wait for a kidney transplant, said doctors.

“This is a ‘paired exchange’ and would minimise the shortfall of organs and increase the transplant numbers,” said Dr Viswanath Billa, nephrologist and coordinator of ASTR.

 

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