GAINESVILLE, Fla. How long a patient survives after a kidney transplant could depend on where he or she signs up to get the surgery, new research from the University of Florida shows.
The shorter the waiting time at a transplant center, the longer patients are likely to live. A combination of center-related factors could mean up to a four-year difference in life expectancy for candidates.
The UF study is the first to analyze overall survival chances for people waiting for a kidney transplant, rather than for people who had already received a transplant.
"Patients want to know their survival long term, not just if they happen to make it to surgery," said lead researcher Jesse Schold, Ph.D., of UF's College of Medicine.
The findings are published in the February issue of the journal Medical Care.
"This is an important paper because it draws attention to an often ignored but critical aspect of transplantation what happens to patients while they are waiting for a transplant," said J. Michael Cecka, Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles, whose group first described in the 1970s the so-called "center effect," in which a patient's prognosis depends on the center where the transplant was done. Cecka was not involved in the current research.
"Unfortunately, not every patient who would benefit from a kidney transplant will ever get one in fact, most of those patients will not get a transplant because there are not enough organs available for transplantation," he said.
Kidney transplantation doubles life expectancy compared with dialysis treatment. On average, wait time nationally for a deceased-donor kidney is four to five years, but in some states it is more than seven.
In 2007, at least 70,000 patients were on waiting lists for kidney transplants at one of 240 centers around the country, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Patients are prioritized
|Contact: Czerne M. Reid|
University of Florida