For the past four years, Koparkhairane resident Mohan Bhanushali, 49, who suffered from chronic kidney failure would ask those undergoing dialysis at Mulund’s Apex Kidney Care if they had a relative who had a healthy kidney with A+ blood group.
Bhanushali’s wife, Geeta whose blood group was B+ could not donate her kidney.
Last year, Bhanushali’s nephrologist, Dr Mohan Bahadur, told him about Navneet Soni, 53, whose kidneys collapsed after battling diabetes and blood pressure for 16 years. While Soni’s wife, Bela’s blood group matched Bhanushali’s blood group, Geeta’s blood group matched Soni’s. The two patients underwent successful transplants this February.
Increasingly, chronic renal failure patients who do not have matched donors in the family are looking for other donors in families with renal failure patients. Such donations are allowed after an amendment was made to Transplantation of Human Organs Act in 2009.
As per records with Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), the numbers of such swap donations have increased six times since the last five years. In 2006, DMER — which is part of an authorisation committee that permits such swap transplants — allowed only two kidney swap transplants.
This increased steadily over the years with 10 swap transplants in 2009 to 12 last year. This year, till April, there have been six swap transplants in the city. “With the lack of cadavers, such transplants provide a ray of hope for patients. We do not encourage swap donations if blood relations or relatives of the patient are not involved,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, joint director, DMER.
Doctors say that swap transplants are not as frequent as transplants with a related donor.
“In such cases, we need four operation theatres. The treatment cost also increases as the patient has to be given an injection that prevents rejection of the unrelated kidney,” said Dr Umesh Khanna, consultant nephrologist from Borivli.
“It is important for couples to get along and interact before they agree to take the major step,” said Dr Bahadur.