In what may be termed as a rare case of clinical excellence, a 46-year-old woman’s kidney was successfully transplanted to a 53-year-old woman, both of whom were sisters by relation. This is one of the first cases where a covid recovered donor’s kidney was transplanted to a covid recovered recipient. The recipient continues to be doing fine post the kidney transplant with no reports of any acquired infections, transplant organ failure or any other co-morbidities.
The kidney transplant was being planned a month in advance, however, when both the patients visited the hospital for the procedure, they tested COVID positive (The patients had to undergo Covid tests as per the established protocols). Thus, the transplant surgery had to be postponed for a month. Post recovery from COVID-19, the transplant surgery was further planned for the patient. A lot of risk factors are associated with organ transplants in COVID-19 recovered patients. In this case, there was a risk of infection in the recipient from the donor as the recipient was on immunosuppressant’s which increase the risk of infections.
Prior to the transplant, both the recipient and the donor went through multiple screenings – cardiac, lungs, pulmonology tests and RT-PCR was conducted twice to make sure that the patients were not suffering from any post COVID complications. Telemedicine also played an important role in the patient’s treatment and recovery as the doctors recommended her to avoid hospital visits considering the risk of contracting COVID-19 and hospital acquired infections. However, occasional visits to the hospital were planned to review the patient physically.
Dr Sanjeev Gulati, Director, Nephrology and Kidney Transplant, Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj and President Elect – Indian Society of Nephrology said, “There were many challenges and risk factors associated with the transplantation of the kidney as both the donor and recipient had just recovered from Covid 19. We had to ensure patient safety and see that COVID does not get transmitted to the donor and monitor that the donor does not develop any complications of anesthesia/surgery or reinfection of COVID-19. Along with this it was also crucial that the healthcare staff did not contract covid. The patient has fully recovered now and is healthy with normal kidney function. She has not reported of any infection and there has been no transplant organ rejection.”
Dr. Gulati further added “This particular case later became a reference case for other hospitals to restart kidney transplants, as owing to covid, organ transplants were not being conducted at any of the hospitals. Prior to this case, there was no information in medical literature or any established protocols on organ donations amidst the unprecedented pandemic such as covid 19.”
Dr. Rajeev Nayyar, Facility Director, Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj said, “It was a very challenging case considering the transplant was done during the pandemic and we weren’t sure about the outcomes. Many risk factors were also involved in the transplantation owing to COVID-19 infection. As per a report by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, organ donation and transplantation programs have suffered a major setback owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all the factors, the doctors at Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj under the leadership of Dr. Sanjeev Gulati could successfully transplant the kidney and gave a new lease of life to the patient. Our team of doctors have always displayed their commitment to clinical excellence and patient-centric care. We will continue to do our best for our patients and ensure they receive the highest quality of medical care and attention.”