Major Kidney Transplant Milestone Highlights A Severe Deficiency In The Kidney Transplant System

The United Network for Organ Sharing recently announced that they have hit a pivotal "Milestone of 500,000 Deceased Donor Organ Transplants" since 1987. Approximately, 49% or 242,294 of the 500,000 total transplants performed were Kidney Transplants. 

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While it is terrific that a half-million Organ Transplants have been conducted in the past 28 years, it does bring to the forefront a major issue;  the growing wait times on the Kidney Transplant List. While Kidney Transplant Surgeons  expect to perform 25,000 total transplants this year many "feel the need will eclipse their efforts, as another 40,000 patients may be added to the waiting list," according to the Florida Weekly.  

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Hence, there is a constant shortage of kidneys available to the over 100,000 Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients who are listed and in need of a Kidney Transplant. This frames the issue of the Kidney Transplant Shortage that many Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are currently experiencing which causes a five (5) to seven (7) year wait time on average and nearly 5,000 patients to die annually while waiting for a Kidney Transplant. 

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Experts revealed that, "more than  1 million people die in the United States every year, but only about 8,000 of them become organ donors." Only 1% of organs overall that are donated from the deceased are actually used in patients, and kidneys specifically are a fraction of the total percent used. This is because of Government Regulations and "Transplant Bureaucracy." 

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Dr. Michael Goldstein (Executive Director of Life Alliance) said that,  “If you die at home in your sleep, you can’t become an organ donor. If you die in a restaurant choking on a piece of meat, you can’t become an organ donor. If you die in a car accident on (Interstate) 95, you can’t become an organ donor.” Thus, Organ Donors including those who donate kidneys must be brain dead and die in a hospital.

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Surgeons say their hands are tied by the government. Federal guidelines restrict them from taking risks — transplanting less-than-perfect organs into the most critical of patients," they claim. However, Dr. Bob Walsh (Director of the Health Resources and Services Administration) suggested that, “Physicians make the decisions…that’s always been the case.” 

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That is why it is surprising to learn that approximately 17.9% of removed kidneys are completely discarded. Especially since new findings by Yale University Researchers suggest that this practice of discarding "injured" kidneys may be a big mistake because injured kidneys "may be more viable than previously thought, and should be considered to meet the growing demand for organ transplants."

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Therefore, 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. Still, there are not enough donors for the amount of people who need a kidney. Thus, share this information with others on Facebook, Twitter, and via email so that they can better understand the Kidney Transplant Shortage and may consider donation. 

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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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