Record Number of Kidney Transplants at Belfast City Hospital


A record five Kidney Transplants took place in less than 24hrs on Sunday 13 September at Belfast City Hospital.  This record falls just one short of the world record of six transplants in a day, in Texas in 2013, and equals the UK record of transplants performed in a single unit on a single day. A team of 14 doctors, 20 nurses and 3 scientists were critical to this effort, notably several of the operating theatre nurses came into work on their day off.

Mr James McDaid, Transplant Surgeon, said: “When you consider the relative size of Northern Ireland versus the US, to be just one transplant off the world record represents surprising throughput, and I attribute this to the commitment of the team at City Hospital to transforming lives.”

Kidney transplants are life saving, typically doubling life expectancy. A kidney transplant allows people to eat a normal diet, travel abroad, return to work and have a normal family life. Transplants save the NHS £30,000 per year compared to dialysis.

The five patients were all on long term dialysis with end stage kidney failure from a range of causes including type 1 diabetes. The youngest recipient was a 41 year old man, the oldest a 56 year old man. Altogether there were 4 males and 1 female ranging from 41 to 56 years. Altogether they had been on the waitlist from 6months – 5 years accruing a waitlist time of 10 years for the five patients.

Mr Tim Brown, Transplant Surgeon Said: “Kidney Transplants are life saving.. As well, patients have a much better quality of life, freed up from the need to spend twelve hours a week on dialysis. Life becomes more normal, They have more energy, they can go to work. They can go on holiday."

Belfast Trust were allocated five kidneys from across the NHS on Saturday 12th September. The five recipients were called to Belfast City Hospital on Saturday evening and prepared for surgery by the ward nursing team and nephrologists. The five kidneys arrived just before midnight on Saturday and the tissue typing laboratory began the work of ensuring the kidneys matched each recipient. The first transplant began at 01:30am on Sunday 13th September and the last finished at 23:00 that evening.

Transplant Surgeon Mr James McDaid carried out three transplants, his colleagues Mr Tim Brown and Mr Mohie Omar carried out the other two.

Mr Tim Brown, Transplant Surgeon Said: “Our Five patients with end-stage kidney failure have now received a phenomenal gift allowing them to undergo a dramatic life transformation. All five patients were home within eight days of their surgery, off dialysis and back to a more normal life. Our thoughts and heartfelt gratitude go out to each of the donor families. Their selfless decision to donate has enabled our patients to receive ‘ the gift of life.'”

Back Row: Audrius Orinas, Dungannon. Aidan Murtagh, Newry. John FInnigan, Cushendall
Front Row: Fiona Anderson, Garvagh. John McGinley, Derry