Chennai hospital conducts kidney transplant on 35-yr-old woman who recovered from COVID

The patient from Madurai, came to Chennai for effective management of chronic kidney failure due to IgA nephropathy.
Chennai's Kauvery Hospital
Chennai's Kauvery Hospital
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Kauvery Hospitals, a leading healthcare chain in Chennai, successfully performed a kidney transplant on a 35-year-old woman who recovered from COVID-19 infection recently. The patient from Madurai, came to Chennai for effective management of chronic kidney failure due to IgA nephropathy — IgA antibody build up in kidney which affects the functioning of the organ. 

"The patient was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy where the kidney's functioning was deteriorating, requiring immediate transplant. The patient's mother came forward to be the donor. All investigations pertaining to transplant were done and both the recipient and donor were found to be suitable,” said Dr R Balasubramaniyam, Chief Nephrologist, Kauvery Hospital Chennai.

“Meanwhile, the mother and daughter developed symptoms of COVID-19 with mild cold, fever and cough. Their CT reports were normal and hence were advised to be under home quarantine. After recovery, they tested negative, and tests on their antibody levels showed good response to Covid infection, indicating they were well protected from further COVID-19. We then went ahead with the transplant procedure," he added. The transplant was successful and donor was discharged in three days and patient in six days. The creatinine levels also reduced, and there was a shorter hospital stay. 

Kidney transplantation is a life-saving procedure which helps patient to survive when both kidneys permanently lose their ability to function. ”Over the last one year, kidney transplants were not being performed as frequently as before, all over the world. Unlike any surgery where a diseased organ is removed like gall bladder, uterus, etc, the diseased kidney is replaced by a new kidney in a transplant. Generally, our immune system identifies any foreign tissue, be it bacteria, virus or transplanted kidney, and tries to reject it. To protect the organ from being rejected, we give them immunosuppressive medications. They suppress the immune system to an extent where the kidney is not rejected. We need to constantly monitor and check for infection and ensure they do not contract any new infection," Dr. Balasubramaniyam said. 

The transplant community is worried about carrying out any other organ transplant during the ongoing pandemic, across the globe. Only other transplants like liver, heart, etc. which can be done through cadaveric transplantations, are mostly done as an emergency. "Kidney patients on the other hand, can be kept on dialysis, and transplant through living donor is not recommended as of now. But currently, a few of them who are affected by COVID-19 have protective antibodies. And this makes it easier for nephrologists to perform the transplant,” he said. 

Many people, who are in need of transplant or on dialysis for more than a year, run the risk of getting severe COVID-19 infection. "If a person has already has been infected by COVID-19, it is better to check for antibodies, and if optimal, get the transplant done. In other patients, it is highly recommended for the patients and their donors to take the COVID-19 vaccination and gain the necessary antibodies. In this way, transplant surgeons can perform the surgeries without any worry, thus reducing the waiting time for patients," Dr Balasubramaniyam added. 

Speaking on the successful transplant, Dr. Aravindan Selvaraj Co-Founder and Executive Director, Kauvery Hospitals said, " Transplants in the last one and half years have been a challenge and only those transplants that required immediately, were performed. Meanwhile, other patients continued to be on dialysis and waited for the pandemic situation to settle down, fearing infection. However, it is also to be noted that dialysis can be physically and economically challenging. I urge patients to consult with their specialists and also take the Covid vaccine to protect them against severe and critical disease.”

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