First International Cross-Over Transplantation for Kidney Disease at Vienna University Hospital AKH

Lifestyle & TravelHealth ♦ Published: January 9, 2023; 18:07 ♦ (Vindobona)

In the University Hospital Vienna AKH, for the first time made possible by diplomacy, a kidney was implanted in a 31-year-old Viennese, which was flown in from Israel by a living donor. A few hours earlier, a kidney was removed from his brother at Vienna General Hospital and transferred to Israel on the same plane.

The Vienna General Hospital created mutual aid for three patients through cooperation in the field of organ transplantation with Israel. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Thomas Ledl / CC BY-SA 4.0 (

The 31-year-old patient had already received a kidney from his uncle in 2007 because of his kidney disease. Some time ago, the kidney's condition deteriorated to the point that regular dialysis (blood washes) became necessary again, AKH explained. Since his brother was willing to donate a kidney, but it was not compatible, the patient was accepted into the KPD program.

The transfer of organs took place in November in the presence of Israeli Consul Herzel Edri in Vienna at Schwechat Airport (Vienna International Airport). At the end of November, the transplants were finally performed at Vienna General Hospital by doctors from the Clinical Department of Transplantation, headed by Gabriela Berlakovich, University Department of General Surgery of Vienna General Hospital, and MedUni Vienna. The patient was able to be discharged from the hospital after 10 days and for the time being, comes once a week for outpatient checkups. In the case of his brother, outpatient checks are only necessary 2 times a year.

What are Cross-Over transplantations?

In Cross-Over transplantations, two or more pairs, each consisting of a recipient and a donor, are operated on at the same time and the organs are exchanged. This is necessary if the organ of one's relatives is immunologically incompatible for transplantation, but the organs of relatives of other patients are. To be able to access a larger circle of possible donors, the University Hospital AKH Vienna has agreed on corresponding cooperations with the Czech Republic and Israel.

The so-called Kidney Paired Donation Program (KPD) has already existed with the Czech Republic since 2016 and was the first international living donor exchange in Europe at that time. Now, for the first time, a cross-over transplantation has been performed with patients from Israel; with patients from the Czech Republic, there have already been 7 cross-over transplantations.

Suitable pairs for cross-over transplantation are found with the help of innovative calculation algorithms and a proprietary database, which is regularly and systematically compared with eligible patients and their relatives. If the calculations result in suitable pairs, the data is still checked by doctors. "All the parameters of the donor and recipient must match for a crossover transplant to be carried out," explains Georg Böhmig, initiator of the Vienna KPD program and physician at the Clinical Department of Nephrology and Dialysis, Head Rainer Oberbauer, University Department of Internal Medicine III at Vienna General Hospital and MedUni Vienna.

If the results are positive, contact will be made with the other hospitals and organizational arrangements will be planned. The challenge here is that the explanations and implantations must each take place at the same time, as the organs can only be used for a limited number of hours. In this specific case, the airplane for organ transport was provided by Israel and accompanied by the coordinator of the Israeli transplant center.

AKH Vienna

Embassy of Israel