Tiny kidneys from a five-week-old baby have been successfully transplanted into a 22-year-old woman of Asian-origin who was dying of renal failure, making the infant the youngest organ donor in the UK.
The organs from the baby, who suffered heart failure after a major infection, were transplanted into Samira Kauser, a healthcare assistant, from Halifax, West Yorkshire.
A seven-hour operation was carried out by Niaz Ahmad, a transplant surgeon, and his team at St James’s University Hospital in Leeds to remove the kidneys from the unnamed five-week-old baby and transplant them into Kauser.
Kauser had suffered kidney failure due to a genetic condition involving cysts that were damaging her organs beyond repair.
She was spending nine hours every night on dialysis.
“This case represents the youngest organ donor in the country,” Ahmad was quoted as saying by The Sunday Times.
Kidneys are fully functioning at around 37 weeks in the womb and could technically be transplanted even then into an adult.
After the baby died earlier this year, Ahmad was contacted by transplant co-ordinators at the Leeds hospital to say that the parents wanted to donate the baby’s kidneys, which measured just 4 cm in length.
Kauser was rushed to hospital for the surgery, which, after six months’ careful monitoring, has been declared a success. The transplanted kidneys are functioning well and have grown to 7 cm, with the potential to reach 75 per cent of adult size.
“Words cannot express the gratitude I feel to the parents of this baby,” said Kauser. “My life was standing still; now I can live it. They have lost so much — much more than I can ever comprehend. Their only solace is someone else has been able to carry on withtheir life. It is a massive gift,” Kauser said.