Marathon organ swap to save six lives

Surgeons performed 12 operations across four Melbourne hospitals in the nation's first six-way paired kidney-swap on Thursday, News Corp Australia reports.

The extraordinary chain of events was triggered by Victoria’s first altruistic donor giving a kidney up to a stranger.

Five other Victorians gave up a kidney to a suitably matched stranger. A loved one of each donor who was in need of a kidney received a donated organ in return.

Nephrology chief at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Professor Steve Holt, said the patients probably would not have been able to get a transplant without the program.

"This is their best chance of getting a good kidney, so it's been a real boon for everybody involved," Professor Holt told News Corp.

The 12 surgeries to remove and transplant kidneys took place at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Austin Hospital, Melbourne Private and the Monash Medical Centre with back-to-back operations starting