Woman gives kidney to husband

An Indian man has received a kidney from his wife though she was not a compatible donor, in first surgery of its kind in UAE.

Abdul Ameer has a new lease of life thanks to his wife, Sheeba.
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ABU DHABI // An Indian man has received a new kidney from his wife even though she was not a compatible donor, in the first surgery of its kind in the UAE. Abdul Ameer, 50, is enjoying a new lease of life following the transplant at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC). His wife, Sheeba, 36, said she "didn't think twice" about offering one of her kidneys, but when the couple travelled home to India for a transplant, tests showed that she was not a suitable donor, according to a press release from SKMC.

However, surgeons at SKMC performed a "cross-match desensitisation". In a complex procedure before the operation, antibodies in Mr Ameer's blood were removed over three months to prevent him from rejecting his wife's kidney. It was the first time that the procedure had been performed in this country. Details of the operation, which took place in November, were disclosed by the hospital yesterday.

Many dialysis patients have to wait years for a suitable donor to be found. The couple jumped at the chance of the ground-breaking operation. "He is my life partner and I want to spend more time with him," said Mrs Ameer. In cross-match desensitisation, the patient is given a drug to suppress antibody production before the second stage, plasma exchange. Plasma, a part of blood which contains antibodies, is removed, causing the antibody level in the blood to fall enough to ensure that the donor organ can be accepted. In the US, more than 96 per cent of patients who have had the surgery have survived for a year, according to one study.

"The patient is very happy with his new kidney which is totally functional at this time," said Dr Abrar Khan, the director of transplantation and hepatobiliary surgery. The multi-organ transplantation programme at SKMC, the emirate's largest public hospital, began in February 2008. It has performed 21 kidney transplants. @Email:lmorris@thenational.ae