ISMETT strengthens its pediatric abdominal surgery program: two kidney transplants already performed

The Istituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e le Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione (ISMETT) strengthens its pediatric surgery and abdominal transplant program with already two young patients transplanted and discharged in 2018. Both patients weighted less than 25 kg and suffered from an end-stage renal failure. Transplant was the only possibility to avoid extended dialysis, a treatment they had already endured for many years. Furthermore, they presented a critical cardiovascular condition that required a complex preparation, which started in 2017. The ISMETT Nephrology team, led by Dr. Paola Salis, followed both patients.

The first patient arrived at ISMETT from Albania and underwent a living-related kidney transplant. The graft, donated by her mother, was procured with a laparoscopic procedure, a less invasive technique than the one usually used in these cases. This approach provides for a small incision under the navel, thus allowing to minimize the surgical trauma. A team of surgeons led by Dr. Davide Cintorino performed the organ procurement.

The second patient is a 15 year-old girl from Padua who upon arrival weighted only 15 Kg and was suffering from neuromotor and growth retardation. The graft was procured from a deceased donor and transplanted at ISMETT. Both patients are currently in good clinical conditions. One of them is already at home, the other will be discharged from ISMETT’s Pediatric Unit sometime in the next few days.

Given the complexity of the two cases, a multidisciplinary team that included nephrologists, pediatricians, anesthesiologists, urologists, surgeons, and radiologists, led by Prof. Jean de Ville de Goyet, Director of the Pediatric Abdominal Surgery and Liver Transplantation Unit, managed the two surgical procedures.

Prof. de Ville joined ISMETT less than one year ago with the goal to further improve the pediatric surgery and transplantation program. Today de Ville is considered one of the major experts of this field and has performed over 500 pediatric transplants, with a survival rate of almost 100% with living donors.

ISMETT’s pediatric kidney transplant program started in 2000. Since then, 35 pediatric transplants have been successfully performed: 15 from deceased donors, 18 from living donors, and 2 combined transplants. Over a period of 16 years, at ISMETT the survival rate for pediatric patients is 94%, among the best in Europe given the high complexity of cases (which also include combined liver-kidney transplants).

“In the light of this experience, we are now preparing to further strengthen our kidney and liver pediatric transplant program, working both with living and deceased donors,”  says Prof. de Ville. “Our ambition is to make ISMETT a national and international reference point for children requiring high specialty care in the field of abdominal surgery, with a focus on liver, biliary ducts, and pancreas surgery for malformation, tumor, traumatic, obstructive, infectious, and parasitic diseases. ISMETT’s Pediatric Unit is already the regional center of reference for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of rare metabolism and autoimmune diseases, and of the liver and biliary ducts in pediatric patients, and the regional center of reference for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of rare congenital malformations of the liver and abdomen.”