Leeds doctors perform landmark kidney transplant from a baby deemed brain dead

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Leeds doctors have performed a landmark kidney transplant from a baby deemed brain dead.

The procedure saw doctors use a ventilator to keep the baby’s heart beating to preserve its kidneys for transplantation after it was declared that the child no longer had any brain activity.

Experts from Leeds St James’s Hospital were drafted in to perform the operation at an undisclosed hospital late last year, according to a Sunday newspaper.

It was the first transplant involving a beating heart baby donor, who was less than two months old, since rules changed in April 2015.

Until recently, organs could only be retrieved from a baby under two months old if it had first been certified dead as a result of the heart stopping.

Previous regulations were in place due to questions over whether babies so young could accurately be diagnosed as irreversibly brain dead.

Beating heart donors, those deemed brain dead but whose hearts are kept active by a ventilator, make up about 60 per cent of donors in other age groups.

An NHS Blood and Transplant spokeswoman said: “We can confirm there has been a donation from a baby diagnosed with brain stem death since the guidance around the diagnosis of death in babies aged under two months old changed.”

Details of the donor and recipient are being kept confidential to respect the privacy of the families involved.

Doctors at the Leeds Transplant Centre have been providing complex specialist organ transplants for over 25 years.