A New Way To Increase The Number Of Available Kidneys And Transplant Longevity


As you may know, typically cadaver (deceased donor) kidneys come from donors who are brain dead and on a ventilator because they need to be on life support so that blood and oxygen can still filter to their kidneys and other vital organs. These are usually people who die of head injuries resulting from such events as car accidents, gunshot wounds, swimming pool accidents or child abuse, and only account for approximately 1% of all deaths. Giving the neurotransmitter Dopamine to brain-dead kidney donors may help preserve the quality of their kidneys for more successful transplantation, suggests brand new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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With over 6,000 people dying every year waiting for a Kidney Transplant from a cadaver and 2000 (15%) of removed kidneys go unused, most would agree that it is critical to give available kidneys the best chance of survival. According to the study by Germany researchers, treating brain-dead organ donors with dopamine reduced the likelihood that the kidney recipient would need dialysis in the first week after the transplantation. Those who needed multiple dialysis sessions had an increased chance of kidney transplant failure in the long-term (only a single post-transplant dialysis patient did not).

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The trial involved 264 deceased heart-beating donors and low-dose infusions of dopamine were given to the donors for an average of nearly six hours. After surgery, about 35.4 percent of kidney recipients whose donors did not receive dopamine required multiple dialysis sessions before their renal function recovered, compared to only 24.7 percent in the dopamine group. This study shows that giving a potential cadaver donor a low-dose of dopamine before kidney removal reduces the need for dialysis in the recipient after kidney transplantation, and increases their likelihood of long-term kidney survival. This finding will allow more kidneys to be used for a longer period of time which means there will be less people on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List and more kidneys available for transplantation. 

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Thomas, Jennifer. "Dopamine May Boost Odds of Transplant Success." ABC News. ABC News Network

"Donor Kidneys Represent 1% of All Deaths: Should We Be Able to Snatch Life from the Jaws of Death?" KidneyBuzz.com. KidneyBuzz