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Identical twins, 9, become the first in Europe to receive kidney transplants from the same donor at the same time


Jack and Joshua, 9, from North Wales are recovering well after undergoing four hour operations in theatres next to one another.  The Renal Transplant team at Manchester Royal Infirmary and Royal Manchester Children's Hospital performed the surgery overnight after the call came through that a donor had been identified and the kidneys had been allocated to the twins by a combination of matching and luck.

Both boys suffer from Cystinosis, a rare inherited disease that occurs when the mechanism removing excess cystine (an amino acid) breaks down. This initially leads to kidney problems and meant that Jack and Joshua would have needed to start dialysis treatment in the coming months.  The treatment would have been every night for 10-12 hours.   They would also have had to take a number of medications to treat the kidney failure including injections for treatment of anaemia and poor growth; significantly reducing the quality of their childhood.  After being reviewed by the team in Manchester last month, they were placed on the NHS Blood and Transplant Kidney Transplant list and days later, the offer of the kidneys was received.

Mr Afshin Tavakoli, the Transplant Consultant who led the surgical team operating on them both said:

"We're delighted that we've been able to successfully transplant both Jack and Joshua almost simultaneously; it is a statistical rarity. The transplants will make such a difference to their long term health.  Both are recovering very well and both kidneys are functioning.

"Transplant surgery always requires a huge team effort, but when you're dealing with twins, undergoing surgery at the same time from the same donor, the pressure definitely intensifies.  I can't thank everyone involved - who pitched in selflessly to run two emergency theatres - enough; but most of all we must thank the donor's family who selflessly agreed for the organs to be donated."

Surgery began with just over one hour interval between the two brothers.  The first transplant started on Joshua and once the kidney was successfully transplanted, Mr Tavakoli moved to the theatre next door where Jack's transplant had already started under the expertise of Mr Forgacs, the Transplant Consultant who had come in to ensure both transplants could be carried out.

Soon after the transplant, their appetite and energy levels improved.  Within in a few weeks they can go to school and resume normal childhood activities. While they will require regular clinic reviews to monitor the function the new kidney and also their general health, this will be less intensive over time.  Having a kidney transplant together means that the boys can continue living their childhood almost like any other normal child with less hospital visits, treatment and medicines.