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A UK first for kidney swap

4th October 2007

The first paired transplants in the UK have taken place with two British couples donating and receiving kidneys from each other.

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The four carefully co-ordinated operations at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge are part of a new scheme that is aimed at increasing the number of donor organs available in the UK.

In the procedure Peter Horrell from Cambridgeshire donated one of his kidneys to a man from Lothian in Scotland while the man’s wife gave a kidney to Mr Horrell’s wife Roma. It had emerged that Mr Horrell wanted to donate a kidney to his wife but it was not compatible for her.

The operation was able to go ahead following the introduction in September 2006 of new laws allowing live donations from strangers. Before that patients could only receive a live transplant from a relative or close friend.

Mrs Horrell had her operation three months ago and says it has transformed her life.

Mr Horrell said this process was the next best thing to him giving is wife his kidney.

He said: “As far as I was concerned I was helping Roma in this way. We’re also very grateful to the woman in Scotland who gave a kidney to Roma.?

Professor Andrew Bradley, who carried out one of the transplants at Addenbrooke’s, said the move is a sensible step forward which he hopes will get more people off the waiting lists.

About 6,500 people are waiting for a new kidney in the UK. Last year about 2,000 kidney transplants were performed.

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