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World record with seven kidneys

An Erasmus MC patient has for the seventh time received a kidney, thanks to a new transplant program. The 39-year-old teacher from Roosendaal (The Netherlands) set a world record with his seventh kidney transplant, and received an actual Guinness World Record certificate.

Quality of life also increases

At first sight, this would appear to be a dubious honor. Someone who undergoes a transplant three times on one side and then four times on the other side would seem unlucky. But Björn van Empel sees it differently. He gains several years of life with every new kidney, compared to a future on dialysis. His quality of life also increases significantly as a result of the transplant, with fewer related ailments.
Dr. Ajda Rowshani sees this great success as quite an achievement and a good example of teamwork. The internist/nephrologist at Erasmus MC explains: “It is particularly the immunological aspects and surgical challenges that are so special. Every time someone receives a new kidney, the body makes antibodies that try to reject the new kidney. We are the first medical center in the Netherlands able to remove or neutralize these antibodies using our new treatment method, called desensitization.”

Thorough preparation

Van Empel underwent his seventh transplant in 2014. This is exactly a year ago, which is a crucial point in time to evaluate, says Rowshani. “He is doing very well.” The secret to success lies in thorough preparation, explains the nephrologist. “The body needs to be optimally prepared for the transplant. We do this, among others, by carrying out a thorough immunological analysis of the patient.”
Van Empel reaps the benefits of the new transplant program, which was designed by Erasmus MC for such complex transplants. Rowshani: “As of this month we are recognized nationally and where possible all complex cases will be treated in Rotterdam.”

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