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Author Topic: Kidney transplant saves woman after 10-year search for donor  (Read 3122 times)
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« on: January 20, 2009, 11:58:38 am »

Kidney transplant saves woman after 10-year search for donor

A WOMAN who waited 10 years for a kidney donor is recovering at home after undergoing transplant surgery.

Isobel Urquhart, 43, was flown 160 miles from her home in Muir of Ord, Ross-shire, to hospital on Christmas Day for the life-saving treatment.

The mother-of-two was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease lupus in 1992, following the birth of her daughter. She was placed on the donor register in 1998 but because she had a rare tissue type, doctors thought it unlikely that she would ever find a suitable donor. She began kidney dialysis in 2003.

A donor was eventually identified in the early hours of December 25. Plans were then made to airlift Mrs Urquhart to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, 160 miles away. She was collected in Dingwall by an air ambulance at 10.30am, and was in theatre in Edinburgh by 6.45pm.

Following the successful operation, she is now looking forward to a belated family Christmas with husband Duncan, 45, son Alexander, 22, and daughter Kerri, 16. They are planning on taking their first family holiday, something that was previously impossible due to Mrs Urquhart's condition.

Mrs Urquhart said: "I have been given my life back. I never thought this moment would come. It is amazing.
‘I have been given my life back. I never thought this moment would come’

"When you first go on the transplant list, you are told to keep a bag packed so that when the call comes through, you can just go. But over the years, my bag was unpacked. I had almost given up hope. But the call did come and it has changed not just my life but my family's as well."

Lupus, an autoimmune disease that can affect virtually any system in the body, is often described as a "self-allergy", where the body attacks its own cells and tissues, causing inflammation and possible organ damage.

Normally, patients can expect to wait around three years on the transplant list before a suitable match is found. However, due to Mrs Urquhart's rare tissue type, and the build-up of antibodies in her system following her pregnancy, it took much longer to find a suitable donor.

Lorna Marson, the NHS Lothian consultant surgeon who performed the operation, said: "I had met Isobel at a clinic I was taking in Inverness some time ago, and I was very moved because she had been on the list for so long. "I was on call on Christmas Day, so when the call came through and I was told the name of the recipient, I was thrilled.

"This will turn Isobel's and her family's life around and the future looks great."

Mrs Urquhart appealed for more people to join the organ donor register.

She said: "My daughter has never known me to be anything but unwell and I couldn't stop thinking about the impact it would have on all of us.

"Then I realised that someone else was having the worst Christmas of their lives. I am so grateful to them for making the decision to donate. It will impact on the lives of so many people.

"I would urge everyone to make that decision for themselves and put their name on the organ donor register.

"It can make such a real difference."

Around 1500 kidney transplants are performed in the UK annually.

The success rate for kidney transplants is higher than for other kinds of organ transplants.

After a successful transplant there is no need for dialysis, provided the transplant continues to operate well.

Transplant kidneys can come from a person who has died, or a living relative or friend of the patient. Patients who have a successful transplant expect to feel better and have more energy.

SOURCE: News Release

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