Longest-surviving kidney transplant patient in Taiwan has a 115-year-old kidney

A hospital in Hsinchu held a birthday party for an 81-year-old man to celebrate the 50th anniversary of him receiving a kidney transplant, and it was revealed that the kidney he carries is now 115 years old.

National Taiwan University Hospital Hsinchu Branch held a press conference as part of the celebration to share the story of Taiwan’s longest-surviving kidney transplant recipient, Chen Ming-hsiung and the pioneering surgical team who performed some of the first organ transplants in Taiwan.

Tsai Meng-kun, vice-president and convener of the organ transplantation team said that the late National Taiwan University Hospital surgeon Lee Jun-ren was the pioneer of kidney transplantation in Taiwan. Lee studied surgical metabolism and organ transplantation at Harvard University in the 1960s, and after returning to Taiwan, performed the first human organ transplant in Asia in 1968.

Chen Ming-hsiung was the recipient of a kidney donated by his mother on July 11, 1973, when he was 31 years old. As his mother was 65 years old at the time, the kidney still used by Chen 50 years later is now 115 years old. Doctors said that his kidney is still functioning well.

Chen said that he started kidney dialysis due to uremia when he was young, but this put a heavy financial burden on his family. Chen was on a waiting list for many years until his mother decided to donate her kidney to him.

Dr Lin Hao-yu from the Department of Surgery said that Chen Ming-hsiung and his mother had the same blood type and half of the leukocyte antigen gene was the same, which is a favorable factor for the success of the transplant. After the operation, Chen took anti-rejection drugs and was able to live a normal life.

Dr Lin said that after kidney transplantation, the biggest difficulty is rejection of the new kidney by the recipient’s immune system, causing the kidney to be damaged and lose its function. Therefore pre-transplant tissue matching evaluation is very important, and blood type should be given priority. In this regard, kidney transplantation between blood relatives is more favorable.

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