MIAMI (WSVN) - In a medical feat, doctors were able to successfully perform a groundbreaking two-way paired kidney exchange using robotic surgery. Months later, four former patients are now meeting each other for the first time since the innovative procedure.

7News cameras on Wednesday captured the two couples who were part of this medical breakthrough as they greeted and embraced each other.

They joined a team of surgeons for a news conference as they described their arduous but rewarding journey.

Michael Deitado, 57, received the life-altering diagnosis of chronic kidney disease when he was 28 years old. Over the course of 29 years, his primary physician fought to preserve his diminishing kidney function.

“They did tell me at an early age, when I was about 28, that over time, the kidney would fail that I would need a transplant,” said Michael. “It’s kind of hard to accept it at first, but ultimately, I did what I needed to do and tried to live a healthy lifestyle.”

But despite his doctors’ best efforts, it became increasingly clear that Michael would ultimately require either dialysis or a kidney transplant.

In 2021, Michael’s condition took a turn for the worse, prompting his referral to the Miami Transplant Institute, a partnership between the Jackson Health System and UHealth – University of Miami Health System.

Upon arriving at MTI, Michael bet his now his wife of nine years, Astrid Deitado, discovered that she was a perfect match to be his kidney donor.

Astrid she immediately offered to donate a kidney,

“I never really thought about that was going to come, the time, and like last year in about November, we got the news that it was that time,” she said, “and I told him, OK, so let’s do it.'”

However, further medical evaluation revealed an unforeseen obstacle. Astrid’s kidneys, while a match in blood type and compatibility, were deemed too small to fit Michael’s body’s needs.

This setback, however, did not deter the determined couple. Astrid decided to help others by entering the international transplant program.

Meanwhile, Fabiana Castro Troya, a 35-year-old native of Ecuador, had been leading a healthy, ordinary life. Unfortunately, her world turned upside down in 2017 when her kidney function began to deteriorate.

“I started walking and walking, and when I went to go say something, I couldn’t talk,” said Castro Toya through a translator. “From there, my husband went to look for the nurses, and from there I passed out. I lost consciousness.”

Castro Toya’s local doctors referred her to MTI as an international patient, a journey that began in 2021 with Castro Toya undergoing dialysis treatments to prepare for a kidney transplant.

Like Astrid, Castro Toya’s husband, Enrique Gonzalez Abarca offered his kidney, but instead of being a match for his wife, he was a match for Michael.

“We got a call saying that I wasn’t 100% compatible. From there, we got here to Miami,” said Gonzalez Abarca through a translator.

The stage was set for a remarkable twist of fate, as a medical team deemed them ready for a unique solution: a paired kidney exchange involving all four individuals.

“They explained to us the process of exchange between the couples,” said Gonzalez Abarca, “and without thinking about it twice, we obviously accepted.”

On March 30, the Miami Transplant Institute etched its name in history by successfully performing a robotic two-way paired kidney exchange utilizing the da Vinci Surgical System.

The groundbreaking procedure was a success. It allowed each participant to receive a kidney ideally suited to their individual needs.

“I think to donate part of yourself is probably the biggest act that somebody can do,” said Dr. Rodrigo Vianna with Jackson Memorial Hospital. “I don’t know anything else that matches this.”

More than five months later, all four reunited with their dedicated medical team to celebrate not only the remarkable success of their robotic surgery, but also the incredible journey that brought them together.

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