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Higher-risk kidneys may help solve organ shortage facing older adults
Date:11/13/2007

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. New research from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center suggests that age alone shouldnt be a barrier to receiving a kidney transplant and that using donated kidneys that would once have been discarded may help alleviate the burgeoning organ shortage among older adults.

In the recent past, chronological age has been a considered a barrier for both organ donation and transplantation, said Phillip Moore, M.D., lead author. Our experience suggests that by transplanting organs that are considered higher-risk into carefully selected elderly patients, waiting times can be reduced and survival is similar, compared to standard-organ transplants.

The research, which involved 356 kidney transplants over a 59-month period, is reported in the journal Surgery.

Because of the aging population, there is an increasing need for kidney transplants among older adults. While the number of patients younger than 50 added to the waiting list for kidney transplants has remained constant during the last decade, the number of patients who are 65 or older has tripled. More than half of the people on the current active list are over age 50.

The crisis in organ supply challenges the transplant community to maximize the use of organs from all consenting donors, said Moore, a surgery resident.

In 2002, the United Network for Organ Sharing instituted a new policy to make better use of higher-risk organs that were once considered unsuitable for transplantation. These organs from expanded criteria donors (ECD) include kidneys from deceased donors over age 60 years or those over age 50 with health conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke or elevated levels of a protein called creatinine. Levels of creatinine, which is produced by muscle, are used to determine kidney function.

Controversy exists regarding the optimal approach to the elderly donor and recipient, said Moore. Ethical concerns have been ex
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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4453
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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