Thirty-nine-year-old advocate Basavaraj Arali from Gulbarga and 25-year-old Basavaraj Mhaske from Akalkot share a common name but what has brought the two strangers suffering from renal failure together is a kidney swap transplant, the first such procedure to be performed in Solapur district.
The surgery was performed at Ashwini Medical College, Kumbhari, Solapur, on September 12. “I was born with one kidney and soon developed a condition called renal hypoplasia, which leads to renal failure. For several months, I have been unwell and hence, I registered for a kidney transplant,” says Arali. His wife Renuka’s blood group was not compatible for a related live donor transplant procedure.
Around the same time, a couple of months ago, Mhaske was admitted to Ashwini Medical College and Hospital as he was being treated for a childhood nephrotic syndrome. Dependent on dialysis, his mother Nagamma had registered at the hospital for a kidney transplant. “I was ready to donate my kidney for my son but our blood groups are not the same,” she said.
Doctor Sandeep Holkar, a nephrologist, studied both cases and found that the blood group of Nagamma matched with Arali and the latter’s wife had the same blood group as Mhakse’s. “That is when we planned the kidney swap transplant,” Holkar told The Indian Express. The “give and take” deal between the two families helped the doctors perform their first kidney swap transplant.
A paired kidney exchange, also known as kidney swap, happens when a living kidney donor is incompatible with the recipient and so, he or she exchanges the kidneys with another donor/recipient pair.
“While this paired exchange can minimise the shortfall of organs and increase transplant numbers, it is still not being done routinely,” Abhay Huprikar, a city-based nephrologist and secretary of the Zonal Transplant Coordination Committee, Pune, said.
According to Surekha Joshi, a medical social worker and a transplant coordinator at Ruby Hall Clinic, in the past few years, there have just been two cases of kidney swap transplants. At Jehangir hospital, transplant coordinator Vrinda Pusalkar said there have been six such cases.
S M Ambike, a nephrologist at Jehangir hospital, admitted that while it was one of the solutions to the problem of organ shortage but there has been limited response.
Ambike and his team had performed the first kidney swap transplant in the city in 2008. Hospital authorities said there is need to increase awareness about kidney swap transplants, as the number of patients on the waiting list in big city hospitals was nothing less than 25 to 30.
According to Aarti Gokhale, the central coordinator of ZTCC, Pune region, which also includes Solapur, Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli, Karad, Nashik and Dhule, there has been a rise in the number of cadaver kidney transplants.
This year, a total of 57 cadaveric kidney transplants have been recorded. In 2017, there were 79 cadaveric kidney transplants and in 2016, the number was 83.