The National - News
Wife donates kidney to UAE businessman who suffered rare complications from medicine
A Dubai businessman found his wife was truly a perfect match after she gave him the gift of life by donating her kidney.
Nikolaos Ntigrintakis was told he would require crucial transplant surgery after doctors discovered the medication he had taken in his home country of Sweden for inflammatory bowel disease was causing significant damage to his kidneys.
Mr Ntigrintakis, who moved to Dubai in 2013, had been on dialysis for several years when he decided to agree to his wife’s offer to donate her kidney.
“Dialysis was tough. I had to reorganise my life to accommodate my condition. I have a wife and two daughters as well as three companies,” said Mr Ntigrintakis, who has interests in the technology sector.
“I had to appoint a temporary chief executive during my treatment. I remember making decisions from my dialysis bed.”
Initially reluctant for his wife, Eleni Theodoridou, to make such a sacrifice, he undertook an extensive search to find the best place for the surgery to be carried out.
“I looked into travelling to the US, Germany or Spain but I did my due diligence and decided to opt for Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi,” he said.
“I’m very glad I did.” His care team assessed the transplant compatibility between Mr Ntigrintakis and his wife. Of the eight genes that determine a kidney match, they had three in common, making his wife a close match.
“Generally, a parent or sibling would be a 50 per cent match so for Nikolaos’s wife to be a 37.5 match was very fortuitous,” said Dr Nizar Attallah, a transplant nephrologist at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.
“Happily, with advances in medication, even if people have no genes in common, we can still perform the transplant.”
To Mr Ntigrintakis’s relief, his wife’s operation was minimally invasive, sparing her a long recovery.
“After the surgery, I am back at work and taking a much more active role in my companies,” he said. “I feel better than I have in years and the gift my wife gave me has certainly brought us closer together. She saved my life and that’s something I’ll never forget.”
Dr Attallah said a patient suffering kidney damage due to medication for another condition was rare.
“With appropriate follow-up, these complications can generally be avoided altogether, and very rarely progress to the point that a transplant is required,” he said.