Who Is Getting A Kidney Transplant While Many Other CKD And Dialysis Patients Must Continue To Wait?



"I am so tired," a Dialysis patient wrote, "I have been trying everything I can think of to connect with a Living Kidney Donor and nothing has happened. I am still on the list. Who is most likely to get a Kidney Transplant from a Living Kidney Donor, and how can I improve my chances?" 

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As most Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure patients know, there is no absolute answer to this question. Still, most would believe that the person that is most likely to keep the Kidney Transplant the longest would connect with a willing Kidney Donor. However, according to a Rutgers University study, when given the choice among different individuals in need of a Kidney Transplant including their specific name, age, and chance of transplant survival; potential donors often select based on "equity." 

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The Rutgers study, gave a number of participants the option of donating 6 kidneys to 12 theoretical patients in need of a Kidney Transplant. "The most efficient way to allocate those kidneys is to give all six to the people with the best chance of a successful transplant," said Gretchen Chapman (professor of psychology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers). "But that's not always how it works. It depends on how you frame the choices."

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Participants in this given study often cited a Chronic Kidney Disease patient's age as more important than his or her prognosis. For instance, they might reject an older person with a good prognosis in favor of a younger person with a poor one. "People might say, 'Well, I know the young guy has a poor prognosis, but he's young, so if the transplant works, he'll get years of use out of the kidney, so I'm giving him a kidney,'" suggested the authors of the study published in Psychological Science.

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These findings suggest people have a strong bias toward fairness when it comes to sharing a limited resource such as a kidney. This is true even if equality does not ultimately lead to the most logical or effective decisions. Hence, if Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients who desire a Kidney Transplant frame their circumstances in an effective and compelling way they may be able to improve their chances of connecting with potential Living Kidney Donors.

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The Psychological Science study highlights that there is a lot of hope for Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients who are in desperate need of a Kidney Transplant. With nearly 4,500 patients dying annually while waiting on the Kidney Transplant List, it is very easy to become discouraged and say, "Maybe a Kidney Transplant is not for me," or "I have no other choice but to live on Dialysis." Well, that very well may not be the case. Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients must find opportunities to share their unique story.

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There are many opportunities to share your story via traditional news papers, internet publications, local periodicals, radio, personal conversation and social media. If you have any difficulty in spreading your message, successfully defining your need or desire more assistance to help improve your effectiveness in connecting with potential Living Kidney Donors, then click here to sign up for the KidneyBuzz.com, Find A Kidney Donor Campaign. 

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