As previously reported, the new Kidney Transplant Waiting List Allocation System which was implemented on December 4th, 2014, now emphasizes “Longevity Matching.” Basically, age and medical criteria are used to give each kidney and recipient a score, and the top 20% of kidneys go to the 20% of recipients expected to use them the longest, and that typically means younger, considerably healthier patients.
Dr. William Bry (California Pacific Medical Center) said that older patients “don’t fare well in that estimated post-transplant survival picture.” That is why the old Kidney Transplant Allocation System was mostly first-come, first-served. It distributed deceased donor organs to patients who waited the longest, even if recipients were older and less healthy than others on the list.
“We want to make kidneys last longer,” said Dr. David Klassen (Medical Director for the United Network for Organ Sharing). Yet, is this new system which was just put in place effective? Originally, the United Network for Organ Sharing wanted to use pure “Age Matching,” but age discrimination concerns from the Justice Department and groups including American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) led to Longevity Matching.
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The Wisconsin State Journal reported that the new Kidney Transplant System, "Helps some but doesn't address [the] wait time gap." Yes, the new Kidney Transplant List Allocation System has several groups of “winners,” which are mostly younger patients and those who have blood types or immune systems that make it exceedingly difficult to find matching donors. Still, the new allocation process also has its “losers” who are primarily older people that might have to wait longer for Kidney Transplants or accept Lower-Quality Kidneys.
Recent Kidney Transplant Waiting List figures highlight the fact that since the new Allocation System was adopted Kidney Transplants in patients 50 years old and older dropped from about 62% of all recipients to 53%. On the other-hand, according to the, Wisconsin State Journal, Kidney Transplants in patients ages 18 to 49 increased from roughly 33% of all recipients to 43%.
As most know, there are over 100,000 Chronic Kidney Disease patients on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List. However, only 17,000 patients received Kidney Transplants last year and unfortunately, 4,300 individuals who were waiting passed away. Still, the rule changes to the Kidney Transplant Waiting List Allocation System do not appear to address geographic challenges which cause wide disparities in wait times or even correct the persistent issue of the 2,600 (1 in 5 or 19%) recovered kidneys which are annually wasted.
Therefore, the question must be asked, "Do the new changes to the Kidney Transplant Waiting List really close the gap and help more patients or is it just masking the issue?" What do you think? Click here to share your answer with the over 21,600 Friends at the KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page. Also, visit KidneyBuzz.com every day for the latest Breaking News and Information which teaches those with Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes how to better manage and improve their lives. Like KidneyBuzz.com and Follow us on Twitter so that you do not miss a thing.