KNH conducts groundbreaking kidney transplant

Doctors at Kenyatta National Hospital have conducted the first ever laparoscopic kidney transplant at a public hospital in Kenya.

The three hour highly delicate minimally invasive surgery was conducted by a team of medics led by Dr. Paul Njogu and Dr Charles Waihenya, both of whom are respected urologists in the country.

“We are moving from the traditional open method to a far more advanced modern. Thanks to technology we are able to use computer guided laparoscopic instruments which make the process far safer to the donor and the recipient.

“The open one leaves a scar, but with this method it is barely noticeable and therefore aesthetically appealing. It takes less time thereby reducing the turnaround time with better clinical outcomes frontier,” said Dr Njogu.

KNH Chief Executive Officer Dr Evanson Kamuri said the Hospital was working towards improving the operational efficiency of its kidney transplant program as it scales up its ground breaking surgeries in the facility.

Dr Kamuri said such a procedure, scientifically known as donor nephrectomy laparascopic surgeries, was possible with the availability of the hospitals tissue typing laboratory, the only one in the region.

“Our focus now is to increase the operational efficiency of our transplant program. This includes reducing our turnaround times. The presence of our tissue typing lab is also a bonus tor us. It only takes a few days to get tissue typing results at a less cost,” said KNH Chief Executive Officer.

The recipient was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure last year.

“I always felt tired and worn out after work, and could not sleep well so I thought these were normal signs and symptoms of diabetes. I have been a diabetic patient since 2004.

“My eyes were yellowish, my sight was blurry which prompted me to visit a clinic who

indicated that most likely it was a renal problem and referred me to KNH.

The problem was diagnosed as kidney failure. I started dialysis sessions. The doctors advised that there were two options; dialysis and transplant. I opted for transplant after

confirming that it is successfully done in the hospital.

I thank Ndekei [the kidney donor], the management of the [Kenyatta National] hospital and all the medical personnel who were involved in the process. May God bless you all,” the kidney transplant patient said.

Traditionally, donor nephrectomy laparascopic surgeries required a healthy individual, the donor, to undergo a major operation where the kidney was removed through an incision in the side using a large incision.

This so-called “open” procedure was associated with significant pain and a substantial recuperation period for the donor.

In contrast, for a laparoscopic donor nephrectomy, tiny incisions are used, and the kidney is removed using a scope or camera and special miniaturized surgical instruments.

The advantage of this procedure is that it has a shorter recovery period, and the complication rate is very low. In addition, the quality and function of the transplanted kidneys are excellent.

In addition, patients are hospitalized approximately 3 days shorter and return to normal activity almost 3 weeks earlier.

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