Girl grows two new kidneys after old ones fail thanks to million-to-one genetic quirk

By | May 19, 2010

Angel Burton (pictured with her mother Claire) in fancy dress. She was dogged with ill health from a few months after her birthA girl left seriously ill when both her kidneys failed astounded medical experts by growing two new ones.

Angel Burton suffered from painful kidney infections from birth to the point where she required surgery at the age of five.

But surgeons were amazed to discover the little girl had four kidneys, with two new fully-formed organs sitting on top of her old ones.

And the new ones had taken over the role of the others, meaning she was effectively ‘cured’ of kidney failure.

Now, three years on, Angel, now eight, is fighting fit and her family are still thankful for the miracle that changed her life.

She has an rare condition known as ‘duplex kidney’ – common to just a handful of people in Britain.

A duplex kidney is fused to the other at the centre and may share or have an independent ureter draining urine to the bladder.

In Angel’s case both her kidneys are ‘duplex’ and fused to the other. Each has a separate ureter, meaning that she has four kidneys and four ureters.

Doctors believe the initial scans missed the extra kidneys because they sat immediately on top of each other and would have shown up as one.

Angel’s mother, Claire Burton, 32, from Louth, Lincolnshire gave birth to her daughter in 2001 but within months her baby’s health started to decline.

Doctors performed tests and she was diagnosed with bilateral reflux, which meant that the valves to her bladder weren’t working properly and urine was getting into her kidneys, causing infections.

Angel’s condition continued to be monitored and she was regularly screened for infections and given kidney scans.

On one check-up it was revealed her kidneys had suffered serious scarring and she would have to have an operation.

She underwent surgery at Sheffield Children’s Hospital in October 2007 to create an artificial valve but during the operation doctors spotted the extra kidneys.

Mrs Burton, who has two other children with husband of ten years, Michael, said: ‘They’d been in there an hour and a quarter when the surgeon came out.

He said: ‘We’ve found something very, very strange considering the amount of scans Angel’s had this year.’

‘He went on to explain they’d put a camera in Angel’s bladder so they could repair the valves. They’d found the two openings that were supposed to be there and they’d gone ahead and repaired the two valves.

‘But then they’d found two more openings and when they’d put the camera up, these openings led up to two more perfectly healthy kidneys, just sitting on top of the other ones.

‘He said: ‘They are totally independent. We are just stunned that these have never been picked up on a scan. She’s been having intensive scanning for five years and they’ve never shown up. It looks like the healthy ones have taken over.” …

via Girl grows two new kidneys after old ones fail thanks to million-to-one genetic quirk | Mail Online.

One thought on “Girl grows two new kidneys after old ones fail thanks to million-to-one genetic quirk

  1. Bill Chalmers

    My Daughter had the same issue, shortly after birth she was admitted to hospital as she was frequently being sick, they diagnosed urinary reflux, it wasnt until several scans later they they discovered she had a fully functioning duplex system with separate ureters, they told us that duplex kidney could be more common than initially thought but most people aren’t affected and it isn’t diagnosed until death (if a post-mortem is carried out) and in a lot of cases is never diagnosed, my daughter also has cystinuria which is a defect resulting in excess cystine in the urine which causes kidney stones.

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