New Study Confirms That Kidney Transplant Allocation System Changes Are Harmful To Older Patients

It is an unfortunate fact that only 1 in 3 people survive on Dialysis. With over 100,000 people awaiting a Kidney Transplant on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List, nearly 5,000 people die every year before making it to the top of the list for consideration. Hence, this is obviously a critical problem, and that is why Dr. John Friedewald (Northwestern Medicine, Transplant Nephrologist) and his United Network for Organ Sharing committee colleagues developed a new "Longevity Matching" Kidney Allocation System. This process pairs kidneys expected to last the longest with people expected to live the longest, and is meant to maximize the benefit of a Kidney Transplant while cutting wait times. However, a new study may highlight a major concern associated with this newly adopted policy which many viewers shared with

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Put into place in December 2014 using Longevity Matching, patients who are expected to live the longest are matched with the highest quality kidneys so they may not require re-transplantation, which in theory may slow the growth of the Kidney Transplant Waiting List and leave other Kidneys for those in need. Yet, what about older patients, what happens to them? 

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Well, findings presented at the American Transplant Congress suggested that, "Elderly Kidney Transplant recipients have worse survival odds if they receive organs from elderly rather than younger individuals." Researchers also found that elderly recipients who receive elderly kidneys from a Deceased Donor aged 65 years and older have a 1.75 times greater risk of Kidney Loss and worse Kidney Function. 

Recommended Reading: Discarded Kidneys Found To Work For Chronic Kidney Disease Patients. Excluding Specific Recipients.

Friedewald who served as the Chair of the United Network for Organ Sharing committee that developed the new Kidney Allocation System said, “What we wanted to happen is happening. When we look at extreme mismatches in age between donor and recipient we’re seeing fewer of those extreme mismatching, more than 15 years difference between donor and recipient so we’re better matching longevity with candidates with longevity with kidneys."

Recommended Reading: Age Discrimination In Kidney Donation Maybe Harmful To All On The Waiting List

Yet, the impact on older patients' survival and Kidney Transplant success may be an unintended consequence of the new  Longevity Matching policy. Do you think that this is fair, and the best policy for the new Kidney Transplant Waiting List Allocation System? Share your thoughts with the other over 20,000 Friends on the Facebook Fan Page. Also, share your opinion with United Network for Organ Sharing by completing the form below.

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"Elderly Kidney Transplant Recipients Fare Better with Younger Donors."Http:// Renal and Urology News.

"Organ Transplant Changes Reduce Wait Times For Kidney Patients."Http:// CBS Chicago.

"It’s Finally Here! The New US Kidney Allocation System."Http:// Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.