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A patient suffering from liver cancer and kidney failure is recovering in hospital after the world's first double transplant, using organs from a dead donor and a live donor at the same time.

Zhongshan Hospital announced yesterday the operation was a success. The liver came from a dead donor and the kidney from the patient's brother.

Zhang Qiying, a 57-year-old local middle school teacher, suffered liver cancer two years ago. His condition had deteriorated recently and developed kidney failure late last year.

"The only treatment was to transplant both liver and kidney," said Dr Fan Jia, vice president of Zhongshan Hospital and chief surgeon on the liver transplant. "However, it is difficult to get two suitable organs at the same time."

"We had thought that one brother could donate a kidney and each sister donate a part of their liver. But the patient didn't agree because of the risks involved," said Dr Zhu Tongyu, director of Zhongshan's urosurgery department and the one in charge of the kidney transplant team.

"Since there was a suitable liver from a recently dead donor, we decided to use the corpse's liver and a live donor's kidney."

Zhang underwent surgery on December 27 with the liver from the corpse and the kidney from his 52-year-old brother Zhang Qizhong, who gave the donation on his birthday.

Doctors said the patient was in stable condition and was expected to leave the hospital with in a week. His brother is also recovering.

"We had been worried that this surgery might result in a bigger rejection since the two organs were from different people. But this patient had no such problems," said Dr Zhu. "This surgery is meaningful in clinical practice by directing future organ transplant surgery with organs from different sources."


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