New transplant procedure a success

Children previously deemed ‘untransplantable’ can now receive organs

Megan Carter received a new kidney at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Megan Carter received a new kidney at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

 

A new treatment that allows for successful kidney transplantation in children who have rejected previous transplants has been successfully carried out on an Irish teenager.

The technique means children previously deemed “untransplantable” due to high levels of powerful antibodies in their systems can receive organs successfully.

The procedure was carried out on Megan Carter (14) from Coolock, Dublin, at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London. It is the first time it has been performed on a child in the UK.

Megan was born with problems with her kidneys that led to her receiving a kidney transplant at Temple Street Hospital in 2011. Her body rejected the kidney and it was removed the following day, leaving her requiring dialysis on a daily basis.

Kidney transplants are sometimes rejected due to antibodies that fight against foreign objects or organs in the body. These antibodies arise from previous transplants, blood transfusions or pregnancies. When they exist, organ transplantation can become impossible.

The antibodies can cause serious complications post-transplant, including a severe rejection with loss of the transplant, infections, bleeding, and even death.

 

The new technique, carried out by a team at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, sets about removing the antibodies using a process in which blood is taken out of the body, filtered to remove the antibodies and then reintroduced back into the child.