Surgeons complete transplants of brain-dead boy’s heart, liver, kidneys


Operations to transplant the heart, liver and kidneys of a young boy who was declared brain-dead into three different recipients were successfully completed early Saturday.

Surgeons at Osaka University Hospital said they transplanted the heart into a girl under age 10 Friday, making her the youngest heart recipient in Japan.

At the National Center for Child Health and Development in Tokyo, doctors finished transplanting the liver into another girl under 10 at 3 a.m. Saturday, while a woman in her 60s received the boy’s kidneys at Toyama Prefectural Central Hospital at around 2 a.m.

The 7½-hour kidney transplant in the city of Toyama took longer than expected because special care had to be taken with the organs in light of the boy’s young age, surgeon Chikashi Seto said.

It is the first time a donor under 6 has been declared brain-dead since the revised Organ Transplant Law took effect in July 2010 to cover those younger than 15, toughening the criteria for children under the age of 6.

The boy was pronounced brain-dead at Toyama University Hospital on Thursday after suffering cardiopulmonary arrest that deprived his brain of oxygen, and surgical teams from the three medical institutions extracted his heart, liver and kidneys the following day.

The eyeballs were also harvested and the Toyama Eye Bank is searching for a recipient for the corneas.

Although the exact age of the girl who received the heart has not been disclosed, she is younger than an 8-year-old boy who underwent a heart transplant in 2000, according to organ transplant experts.

The girl was suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart, while the liver recipient’s own liver had failed. The woman who got the kidneys had chronic glomerulonephritis, a renal disease that inflames the blood vessels.