Doctors Thought the Kidney Would Be Big—but Not This Big

Surgeons in India pull 16-pound organ out of 56-year-old man with genetic disorder
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2019 9:03 AM CST
Doctors Thought the Kidney Would Be Big—but Not This Big
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/andrei_r)

A human kidney usually weighs no more than a third of a pound. Doctors in India, however, pulled one out of a man that came in at more than 16 pounds—what the BBC notes is the equivalent of a bowling ball or two newborns, and a possible record-breaker. "We knew it was a big kidney but never thought it would be this heavy," Dr. Sachin Kathuria says of the discovery in Delhi last month, as reported by the Guardian. The 56-year-old patient suffered from autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, an incurable inherited disorder that results in multiple cysts on the kidneys and can lead to kidney failure. One of the doctors involved in the two-hour surgery says large kidneys are often seen with this condition. In fact, the patient's remaining kidney "is even bigger," Kathuria tells the BBC.

He adds that usually an enlarged kidney such as this is left inside the patient if it's not causing complications, but the man in this case was suffering from a serious infection that antibiotics weren't helping, and the kidney was starting to cause him to have breathing issues: "We had no choice but to remove it," he says. Newsweek notes the official largest kidney ever removed, in 2017 in Dubai, was listed in Guinness as being nearly 9 pounds, 6 ounces, but medical journals have documented other cases in which the removed organ weighed as much as 20 pounds. Kathuria said his team is thinking about submitting their case to Guinness. As for the patient, the doctor says he's in good condition and now awaiting a kidney transplant. (More India stories.)

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