During the five year period from 1987G to 1991G, 161 kidney transplantations were performed at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre (KFSH and RC); 79 from cadaveric donors (CD) and 82 from living related donors (LRD). All cadaveric kidneys except one were harvested within Saudi Arabia and 67% were from Saudi nationals. The immunosuppressive protocol was a triple drug regimen comprising cyclosporin-A (CyA), azathioprine (Aza), and prednisone. The actuarial graft survival rates at one and three years were 85% and 76% for the cadaveric donor transplants and 96% and 91%, respectively for the living related donor transplants (P<0.01). The corresponding patient survival rates for cadaveric donor transplants (CDTxs) were 97% and 94% and for the living related donor transplants (LRDTxs), 99% and 97% (NS). These results compare well with the best results in the Western world. The most serious surgical complications were vascular thromboses (five cases) and infections of the arterial anastomosis line with bleeding (two cases), all leading to loss of the cadaveric graft. The most common causes of death were virus infection, varicella, cytomegalovirus, and hepatitis B and C. The organ donation rate, from cadaveric donors as well as living related donors, is still low in Saudi Arabia. Lack of organs is the main obstacle to an expansion of this promising transplantation activity. Continuous education of the multinational medical profession as well as the lay population is necessary to improve the situation.
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