A western Sydney father-of-seven has become the first person in the country to receive a donor kidney that was “revived” before implant.
This time last year Folio Emilio was on dialysis, taking over the job of his failing kidneys to keep him alive. It’s a process the 64-year-old endured for seven years.
“The suffering that I’ve been through… in those seven years,” Mr Emilio told 9News.
Then the Auburn grandfather’s wait for a kidney transplant came through. But it was no ordinary procedure.
The transplant involved the use of this perfusion machine, tasked with reviving donated kidneys.
“For me, this is the first major change in 25 years,” Westmead Hospital Senior Transplant Surgeon Dr Henry Pleass told 9News.
“You can take a kidney that looks damaged, purpled and mottled and you put it on the machine and within minutes it looks like a perfect, healthy pink kidney.”
The machine pumps blood and oxygen through the kidney at body temperature one hour before it’s transplanted in the operating theatre.
Two patients have so far benefited from the technology.
“Both kidneys have worked straight away, which we’re excited about,” Dr Pleass said.
Westmead researchers spent three to four years investigating its use.
“We are still conducting a number of studies that allows us to understand some of the mechanisms as to why it’s improving the function of the organ,” Westmead Institute of Medical Research Dr Natasha Rogers told 9News.
More than 800 Australians each year receive a transplant due to kidney failure often caused by disease such as diabetes. It’s hoped this new approach can improve patient outcomes.
“We hope it improves the long-term function of the kidney as well as possibly increase the number of kidney transplants,” Dr Pleass said.