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Czech, Austrian doctors perform three linked kidney transplants

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Prague, Dec 5 (CTK) – Doctors from Prague’s Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine (IKEM) and the Vienna General Hospital have been the first in Europe to perform three interconnected interstate kidney transplants from living donors, IKEM spokeswoman Sarka Nevoralova told CTK on Tuesday.

The operation was underwent by three patients awaiting a kidney transplantation and their relatives who wanted to become their donor but could not because their kidney was incompatible. For this reason, a chain of transplants was planned using a computer programme. Two donors and two patients were Czech, and one donor and one patient were Austrian.

Two Czech patient-donor pairs agreed with their inclusion into the chain transplant programme and a matching patient-donor pair from Austria was found in September.

A three-month preparation followed, including more than 60 medical and other workers on the Czech side.

“The preparation of such cooperation was very demanding. The donors and recipients of the kidneys stayed in their home countries, while the tested blood samples and finally the donated kidneys were transported from one country to the other,” IKEM Transplant Centre head Ondrej Viklicky said.

The kidneys were taken from the donors in Prague and Vienna at the same time on Tuesday and ambulances transported the donated organs over the distance of 330 kilometres from one city to the other.

The chain transplant computer programme has been operating once in three months since 2012 and the Vienna General Hospital joined it in 2016. The pairing is done based on immunologic factors.

Jiri Fronek, head of IKEM transplant surgery clinic, said the proportions of the donated kidney are also important. Because of this, the doctors received a 3D model of the kidney that was to be donated in advance, he said.

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