This woman's kidney is 100-years-old after donation from her mother in 1973

A woman with a 100-year-old kidney she received from her mother in the 1970s is thought to have the world’s oldest successfully transplanted kidney.

Sue Westhead received the organ in 1973 when her mother Ann Metcalfe was 57, and it’s still going strong 43 years on.

Doctors usually estimate a transplant from a living donor will last 20 years at most.

Sue, who is from Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, shared her story with BBC Newcastle in a broadcast on Wednesday.

Sue Westhead with her mother Ann Metcalfe after her transplant (BBC Newcastle/PA)

She was diagnosed with kidney disease and had only one tenth of normal renal function. Now 68, she remembered being fearful about how the operation would go.

She said: “It was a pretty scary time, even when I was still on the ward people were dying.

“I remember thinking if I get five years I’ll be happy.

“That was 43 years ago and my kidney is heading for 101 years old in November.”

Sue on her wedding day (BBC Newcastle/PA)

She added: “My Mum literally gave me life, because I wouldn’t have lived much longer.

“I could hardly walk, I was a different colour – I was yellow and all of a sudden I had a rosy glow.”

She said she has looked after herself and taken 20 pills a day to make sure the kidney was not rejected.

Her mother would have been 101 this year, she added, and paid tribute to her “good genes”.

(Tom White/PA)

Professor Derek Manas, president of the British Transplantation Society and Professor of Transplant Surgery at Newcastle University, said: “It’s an amazing story of encouragement and hope for people on dialysis and for encouraging people to donate as living donors or to join the Organ Donor Register.

“I think Sue must be one of the longest survivors.”


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