Breakthrough kidney surgery in Thailand

BANGKOK • A Thai hospital has successfully transplanted a kidney across blood types, the first such operation performed in the Asean region.

In the operation, doctors at Bangkok's King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital (KCMH) removed the kidney recipient's anti-bodies in his lymphatic system - which would have otherwise resisted a cross-blood type transplant - without compromising his entire immunity system.

Normally, it is necessary to use a kidney from a donor with the same blood type as the recipient.

The cross-blood type kidney transplant technology was developed by experts at the University of Oslo.

With Thailand and other Asean countries facing an increase in the number of patients with kidney problems, the breakthrough was welcomed by doctors, who believe the lymph-cleansing method can save the lives of up to 20 per cent of patients, who would otherwise die of renal failure.

During a press conference on Tuesday, KCMH director Suttipong Wacharasindhu said that the hospital had long been known for its kidney transplant operations, hence the establishment of its Excellence Centre for Organ Transplants.

"This method forgoes the blood type difference issue and will help save more patients suffering renal failure," said Dr Yingyos Avihingsanon, deputy chief of KCMH's Department of Medicine's renal division.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2016, with the headline 'Breakthrough kidney surgery in Thailand'. Subscribe