"We have carried out a historic swap kidney transplant involving two couples from Hindu and Muslim communities, which highlights a humanitarian cause above religious and sectarian divide," Narayana Health spokesman K.S. Vasuki told IANS.
Vishwanath Bhatta, 53, who has been on dialysis for nearly two years, could not receive kidney of his spouse Usha Bhat, 45, as their blood group did not match.
Similarly, Abdul Khaleel, 60, who has also been on dialysis for over 18 months due to kidney failure, could not receive kidney of his spouse Abida Khaleel, 47, due to incompatible blood group.
"In their search for kidney donors, the couples got acquainted and agreed for the swap transplantation, which was conducted Aug 1 at our hospital after duly following medical and legal procedures," Vasuki said.
As the blood groups of Bhatta and Abida matched and so in the case of Khaleel with Bhat, the couples agreed to swap the kidneys of their spouses to lead a normal life.
"The donors - Abida and Bhat - have been discharged while their recipient husbands Bhatta and Khaleel are recuperating after a successful transplantation last week," hospital's consultant nephrologists Rammohan S. Bhat told IANS.
Both couples hail from Bangalore and belong to the middle class. Bhatta is a bank employee while Khaleel is a businessman.
"Swap transplant epitomises the essence of organ donation transgressing all boundaries, including religion. The unique procedure is bound to raise hopes for several organ receivers as also donors," Vasuki observed.
Laproscopic donor nephrectomies were done by doctors Sourabh Bhargav and Prashant Kulkarni. Director Ashley D'Cruz, who orchestrated the set of procedures, transplanted the harvested kidneys along with doctors Sanjay Rao and Nagasubramaniam.
"The major challenge in swap transplantation is that the hospital has to be equipped with a number of specialists with excellent infrastructure to operate simultaneously on four persons - two organ donors and two recipients," Bhat said.