Injured Kidneys Currently Discarded Found To Work Better Than Some Kidneys From Living Donors

Kidney Transplant Teams  rush against an eight hour timeline to transport kidneys to a given Kidney Transplant Center operating room, prepare it for surgery, and implant it into the recipient's body. Unfortunately, however, in some cases kidneys are declared "unusable" or "injured" when they arrive for transplant. This is a very alarming fact for Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients because in 2011, 17.9% of removed kidneys were completely discarded - and this figure is growing. 37% of the discarded kidneys were due to bad biopsy findings upon arrival, while poor organ function before transplant accounted for another 9.2%.

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However, new findings by Yale University Researchers suggest that this practice of discarding injured kidneys may be a big mistake which may be costing many Chronic Kidney Disease patients in desperate need of a Kidney Transplant, a second chance at life. Science Daily reported that, "A Yale-led study finds that such kidneys may be more viable than previously thought, and should be considered to meet the growing demand for organ transplants."

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This may be terrific news for the over 100,000 Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients who are currently waiting on the Kidney Transplant List. Since more than 5,000 people die each year while waiting for a kidney, this finding may assist many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients at improving the quality of their lives, and even more critically - saving their lives. 

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After observing 1,600 deceased Kidney Donors (the largest multicenter observational study of its kind), Yale researchers found that injured kidneys were associated with "Delayed Graft Function (DGF)" which means the recipient had to conduct Dialysis in the first week after receiving their Kidney Transplant. However, quite surprisingly, the study did not find a link between Deceased Donor kidney injury and poor Kidney Transplant function six months after surgery. In fact, Dr. Isaac E. Hall (Yale University) said, "What we saw was, with worsening Acute Kidney Injury in the donor, the six-month outcome was actually better for recipients who experienced Delayed Graft Function." 

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More shockingly, the Research Team found that six-month transplant function was worst for those with Delayed Graft Function who had received a donated kidney with NO apparent injury. One reason for this counterintuitive finding, Dr. Hall suggested, is that injured kidneys may have developed a mechanism that could protect the kidneys from the effects of subsequent injury called, Ischemic Preconditioning.

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Senior Researcher, Dr. Chirag R. Parikh, suggested that the bottom-line takeaway for Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients is that, "There appears to be room to attempt more transplants using these AKI kidneys rather than throwing them away."  Thus, Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients should consider discussing the use of "injured" kidneys with their Transplant Teams, especially if they are finding it more difficult to get a Kidney Transplant. Moreover, to improve your chances of connecting with potential Living Kidney Donors, contact for more details on the Find A Kidney Donor Campaign.

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