Do The New Kidney Transplant Waiting List Rules Discriminate Against Older CKD Patients?

A few Facebook comments shared on the recent article, "It's Here: Largest Change To The Kidney Transplant Waiting List & Kidney Allocation System In 26 Years" included:

1.) "What a great change. Now I should get a Kidney sooner! I'm only 26 years old and I am on Dialysis."

2.) "I am all for younger people getting a Kidney Transplant, but I am 59 years old and I have a family. I need a Transplant too. I am disappointed with these new rule changes."

Recommended Reading: CBS Reported New Advice For Chronic Kidney Disease Patients On Dialysis Which Is A True Life Saver
The two above comments perfectly underscore two controversial schools of thought as it relates to the new Kidney Transplant Waiting List allocation system. The aspect of age and priority of the Kidney Transplant waiting list is the driving force behind the divisiveness in the Chronic Kidney Disease Community. Fundamentally, all patients waiting for a Kidney Transplant must consider the question, "Are the new Kidney Transplant Waiting List rules discriminatory to older Chronic Kidney Disease patients?"

Recommended Reading: First 3D-Bioprinted Transplantable Organ To Be Unveiled In Early 2015 With An Expected Kidney Date

Jim Myers, current Dialysis patient and founder of Kidney Stories said, "In my opinion, the new standards favor the younger kidney patient." Dr. Lainie Friedman Ross (University of Chicago) would agree with Mr. Myers assertion, "One of my big concerns is given how it's structured, most kidneys go to younger people," the doctor stated. She also noted that, "I would argue that it's discrimination against people who are older."

Recommended Reading: 1 in 5 Dialysis Patients Die Yearly. Needle Dislodgement Turning Deadly Contributes To Statistic

Figures suggest that 1,100 kidneys would go to patients 50 and younger instead of going to people older than 50. However, some have posed that this is an underestimation because,  "If younger patients have greater and faster access to deceased donor kidneys, they may be less likely to ask loved ones to donate to them -- decreasing the total number of kidneys available to transplant."

Recommended Reading: 1 in 5 Dialysis Patients Die Yearly. Needle Dislodgement Turning Deadly Contributes To Statistic

Not everyone agrees with Mr. Myers and Dr. Ross such as Dr. Richard Formica (Yale University) who chairs the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network /United Network for Organ Sharing Kidney Transplantation Committee. Dr. Formica and his colleagues found that "The number one reason we lose a kidney transplant is that the patient dies with a kidney working," and they believe that the new system will maximize the effective use of the Transplanted Kidney given its lifetime.

Recommended Reading: It's Here: Largest Change To The Kidney Transplant Waiting List & Kidney Allocation System In 26 Years.   

The idea is simple enough, younger candidates won't be crowded out by older patients. If you have a Cadaver (Deceased Donor) Kidney from an 18 year old that you expect to last for 14 years then give it to the 35 year old rather than the 69 year old Chronic Kidney Disease patient. Hence, the 69 year old must wait until a kidney expected to last only 6 years becomes available. Of course those numbers are all hypothetical, but many organizations seem to agree with the changes. The National Kidney Foundation listed "More Closely Matched Transplants, Not Everyone Needs a Fifty Year Warranty," and "Potentially More Donor Kidneys Will be Transplanted Under the Proposed System," as positives to the new rule change.

Recommended Reading: Dialysis Treatment Option Which Is Found To Be Comparable to Cadaveric Kidney Transplant

Yet, Mr. Myers is not convinced about how effective the new rule changes will actually be, "First, if we are implanting the best kidneys in the youngest patients, are we still not looking at multiple potential transplants in their lifetime?" There is also concern regarding compliance and whether younger recipients will be as compliant as they need to be to have their kidney last long. If not, they will end right back on the list in line for the longest lasting kidneys.

Recommended Reading: Removal Of Chronic Kidney Disease Patient From Kidney Transplant List Due To New Rule Changes

Yes, this is a complicated topic, but a critically important one. What do you think? Do you agree with the new Kidney Transplant Allocation System or are more mature patients being cast aside for younger candidates? Click here to join in the discussion with over 11,500 other Chronic Kidney Disease patients at the Facebook Fan Page. Also, visit every day (including weekends), for the latest Breaking News and Information about how Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetics can better manage their lives. 

Most Popular Stories:



"The Waiting List." Http:// Kidney Link.

"Does the New Kidney Allocation Concept Discriminate Against Older Candidates?" Https:// National Kidney Foundation, Inc.