“We are very happy to have taken a patient off the waiting list”, rejoices Thursday, May 26 on franceinfo the urologist François Gaudez. He is part of the team at the Saint-Louis Hospital of the AP-HP (Public Assistance for Paris Hospitals) which carried out the transplantation of a kidney already grafted on a first patient ten years ago. According to him, “a kidney can easily live to be 80 or even 90 years old” but this “performance” should stay “an epiphenomenon”. “The retransplantations will unfortunately not represent a colossal number of samples.”
franceinfo: is a kidney transplantable ad infinitum?
Francois Gaudez: No, our kidneys have a limited lifespan since we cannot live to be 200 either, but it is estimated that a kidney can easily live to be 80 or even 90 years old. Here, the situation was exceptional. Normally, kidneys are taken from brain-dead patients who have never had a transplant. This time, we had a donor who died after a cardiac arrest who had a perfectly functional kidney transplant. We felt that we could take it back and transplant it to a third person.
Can this reuse of a graft be a solution to the lack of organ donations?
It’s more of a performance that we managed to do. I think it will remain an epiphenomenon. Depending on your blood type, you can have waiting times of up to seven or eight years for a kidney.
“We are very happy to have removed a patient from this waiting list because it is always a feat, but the retransplantations of organs already transplanted for the first time will unfortunately not represent a colossal number of samples.François Gaudez, urologist at Saint-Louis Hospital in Paris
Are there any difficulties in retransplanting a graft that has already been used?
Absolutely. Removing an organ that has already been transplanted is technically much more difficult. Very schematically, a graft is fused with the body of a recipient. Removing it therefore requires a very special surgical technique to avoid damaging it. In addition, a graft is a vascularized organ with an artery and a vein. These are very fragile elements and their dissection is very sensitive. There, we were lucky enough to be able to pick it up again without damaging it. It was perfectly functional, anatomically perfect and it could be re-transplanted to the new recipient a few days later. The operation went very easily.
Are kidney transplants common in France?
It’s a perfectly codified operation since we do 3,500 a year in France and the results are very good. So we know in advance that it will work. Today, it is carried out by perfectly trained and trained teams. Kidney transplantation works perfectly well.