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New findings on old kidneys could enhance transplants, Stanford study shows
Date:1/26/2009

STANFORD, Calif. The older the kidney, the worse it works though exactly how much worse isn't known. But with a mean wait time of over three years for a kidney transplant, even old kidneys are in demand. The challenge for doctors is to determine a kidney's prospects prior to the operation.

Research in this month's issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology begins to establish a method for projecting future kidney function, which could be a boon to the more than 82,000 people in the United States awaiting kidney transplants.

Jane Tan, MD, PhD, assistant professor of nephrology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has quantified the function of older kidneys that have been transplanted into patients compared with younger ones. The results are a significant step toward developing precise methods to assess the quality of a kidney before it's transplanted into a patient. "The goal," she said, "is to find good criteria for predicting which are the better older kidneys, and how long they will last in transplant patients."

Kidneys are draped in an outer cortex of tissue filled with clusters of blood vessels, called glomeruli, which filter waste products from the bloodstream. The health of a kidney is determined by how quickly the glomeruli do their job. After injecting a chemical into the bloodstream and analyzing urine samples for traces of this substance, scientists plug the information into formulas to see whether the glomeruli are working hard enough. Typically doctors use creatinine, which provides a quick, but crude, estimate of kidney function. However, a few centers are equipped to use iothalamate a more accurate marker for kidney function, though it's more time-consuming and costly.

Using this "gold-standard" technique, Tan and colleagues tested kidney performance in patients three months after transplantation and found the kidneys from donors over the age of 55 performed only 70 perce
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Contact: Tracie White
traciew@stanford.edu
650-723-7628
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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