split image of Walter Tauro at clinic and standing next to wife

An Indian man living in Canada has been officially verified as the world’s oldest kidney transplant recipient.

Walter Tauro was 87 years 262 days old when he underwent the procedure in June 2023.

Nine months on, Walter’s new kidney is functioning well.

Doctors initially advised Walter against having the transplant due to the risk of death, but after being cleared by a cardiologist and a haematologist, he was approved for the operation.

Walter having his heartbeat checked by doctor

Walter underwent the surgery at St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

Despite being approved for the surgery, there was no guarantee that Walter would survive it.

“We said our goodbyes to each other like it was our last,” recalls Walter’s son, Lionel.

“My dad had made up his mind that he wanted to do this surgery knowing it can end his life.”

Walter was resolute in his decision to have the transplant as he no longer wanted to do dialysis every day.

Kidney dialysis is the process of removing excess water and toxins from the blood of people whose kidneys can no longer perform these functions naturally.

“When I received the referral for Mr. Tauro, I checked his date of birth twice to ensure I got it right,” recalled registered nurse Jennifer Jayoma-Austria in the hospital’s bi-annual publication Transplant Digest.

“Listing him for kidney transplant proves that it is not the age that matters; it is the overall health of the individual that determines suitability.”

The kidney Walter received was from an anonymous deceased donor.

Recounting his experience of the day of his operation, Walter admitted he felt scared. He said: “I closed my eyes, prayed, and the next thing I know, I’m waking up in the recovery room and was told my kidney transplant was successful. I was so happy.”

Walter holding one of his grandchildren

Although the surgery was successful, Walter faced a long recovery process. He spent over a month in the hospital afterwards – the average stay is 6-10 days.

Walter was then discharged to rehabilitate further at home but was readmitted for a short time after experiencing some minor complications.

Walter says his new kidney is an “invaluable gift” that has given him a second chance at life.

In addition to no longer needing to undergo dialysis every day, he regained the ability to drive and play with his two grandchildren.

Currently, Walter is back in hospital after suffering a mild heart attack, which he is expected to fully recover from within two weeks.

I am very proud to be the oldest person to have a kidney transplant. At times, yes, I did think maybe I’m too old…then I thought about my life – I have so much I want to experience still.

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