London: Doctors have performed the first-ever successful organ donation from a very sick newborn in Britain.
The donation involved kidneys which were transplanted into a patient with renal failure and liver cells (hepatocytes) which were transfused into a further recipient.
The donor was a girl born at term after an emergency caesarean section in the neonatal unit of Hammersmith Hospital, London.
She weighed just over three kg but was very sick and it became clear that her brain had been starved of oxygen for a period during the pregnancy.
"It is due to the extreme generosity of the parents and wonderful professional collaboration between the neonatal team and the organ donation team that this process was successful," wrote the authors.
This case has set a milestone in the care of newborns in Britain, they added.
The parents and clinicians involved in her care discussed the possibility of organ donation when it became clear that she would not survive.
The parents gave their consent for their daughter's kidneys and liver cells to be used for the benefit of other sick patients.
Six days after she was born, and with death confirmed, these tissues were retrieved with the help of an experienced surgeon from the National Organ Retrieval Service.
“New guidelines from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health are expected shortly and these should help to standardise an approach to organ donation among newborns,” the authors noted.
The article appeared in the journal Fetal & Neonatal Edition of Archives of Disease in Childhood.