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Kidneys From Donors Older Than 70 Still Viable
Date:4/1/2009

Using them would increase available organs, researchers say,,,,

WEDNESDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to kidney donation, you're never too old to give or receive, new research shows.

In a study of kidney transplants from donors who were 70 years old and older, Italian researchers found that after two years, the kidneys appeared to be functioning as well as those from donors who were 10 years younger.

"Ninety-three percent of kidneys from donors over 70 years, and 91 percent of kidneys from donors aged 60 to 69, had grafts [the transplanted organ] that were still functioning at two years after transplantation," said study co-author Dr. Giuseppe Remuzzi, research director of the Negri Bergamo Laboratories at the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Bergamo.

Results of the study were published as a letter in the April 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

There have been numerous concerns about using organs from older donors, according to Remuzzi. First, doctors worried that kidneys from old or very old donors might not function as long as kidneys from younger donors. Older kidneys would also be more likely to have narrowing of the arteries, which could lead to more surgical complications. And, if there were more surgical complications, that would mean the recipient would need to be under anesthesia for a longer period of time, which would increase risks for the recipient, he explained.

There were also concerns that doing a pre-implantation biopsy, which is necessary to ensure a good match between donor and recipient, might damage an older kidney. Finally, there were also concerns that an older kidney wouldn't be viable for as long between removal and transplant.

But, Remuzzi said a pilot study done 10 years ago found that kidneys from older donors survived well throughout the transplant process. Building off that work, the Italian resea
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