UK woman may have the world's oldest transplanted kidney

Sue Westhead received the successful transplant from her mother in the 1970s

UK woman may have the world's oldest transplanted kidney

Molly Riley / AP/Press Association Images

A woman from the north east of England is believed to have the world's oldest transplanted kidney, at 100-years-old.

Sue Westhead (68) received the successful transplant in 1973, after being diagnosed with kidney disease.

The kidney was donated by her mother Ann Metcalfe, who was 57 at the time, after it was found that Sue only had the equivalent of a tenth of her kidney function.

Over 40 years later the kidney is still going strong, despite doctors estimating that a transplant from a living donor usually lasts two decades at most.

Speaking to the BBC Sue said she had doubts about how successful her transplant would be: "It was a pretty scary time [...] I remember thinking if I get five years I'll be happy.

"That was 43 years ago and my kidney is heading for 101 years-old in November."

She puts her success rate down to her mother's 'good genes': "She must have come from good stock."

"My Mum literally gave me life, because I wouldn't have lived much longer," she said.

"I could hardly walk, I was a different colour – I was yellow and all of a sudden I had a rosy glow."

Doctors and medical experts believe she may have the oldest surviving transplanted kidney in the UK, however it would be impossible to verify whether its the oldest in the world due to limited recorded data.

The President of the British Transplantation Society Professor Derek Manas said: "It’s an amazing story of encouragement and hope for people on dialysis and for encouraging people to donate as living donors or to join the Organ Donor Register."

In Ireland there there is currently no national register where you can record your decision on organ donation, however the Irish Kidney Association has outlined two ways to show you have decided to be a donor. You can either download the Organ Donor App Ecard App, or apply for a 'Gift of Life' card.

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