Saving Evan: The new transplant procedure

December 20, 2012 12:39:15 AM PST
On the day Evan Tanner was born he was given zero percent chance of living. Three years later he's alive and happy, continuing to beat the odds.

Little Evan is non-stop!

He always has a smile on his face," said Evan's mother, Alison Beier.

However, he was born with a laundry list of issues and on top of all this.

"We knew in the womb he had no left kidney. He had a right kidney but that kidney was full of cysts," Alison said.

Anti-bodies had built up in Evan.

"Antibodies like this that are high enough at the time of the transplant would cause, in this case a kidney transplant, to reject it on the operating room table," said Transplant Surgeon at UCLA School of Medicine, Dr. Gerald Lipshutz, MD.

Through this blood cleansing process at UCLA Evan, who is type A, could receive a kidney from his mom, who is type AB. In a two-step process Evan undergoes IVIG, where antibodies are isolated from donated blood and high doses are infused into Evan. This helps keep his body from attacking a donated kidney after transplant.

"The other arm of the treatment is plasma pheresis, it actually physically removes proteins from the blood stream," Dr. Lipshutz explained.

It takes two and half hours, three days a week, for several weeks; but, it allowed Evan's mother to give her baby boy a new kidney.

"When they do an ultrasound, they laugh because they look for a little kidney and there's like this little body and then bam! It's like a big kidney," Alison said.

It has been months since the transplant and Evan is still going strong.

The doctor has had a 94-percent survival rate with this type of transplant. Women who have had multiple pregnancies, people who've undergone several transfusions, and those on dialysis are the most likely to need this type of treatment before a transplant.

If you would like more information, please contact:
Gerald Lipshutz, M.D., Associate Professor of Surgery
UCLA School of Medicine
310) 267-9592
gl1846@yahoo.com

Load Comments