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Change in kidney transplant policy

19th August 2010

New evidence has suggested that the number of kidney transplants conducted in the UK could be doubled by using more organs from donors whose hearts have stopped.

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With some 700 people dying every year while on the waiting list for a kidney transplant, the team from Cambridge University says the move could help save hundreds of lives every year.

At present in the UK, kidneys for transplant come from patients who are deemed brain dead but whose hearts have not stopped.

The Cambridge team studied 9,000 transplants and found kidneys from "cardiac death" donors used on a local basis were as good.

In Britain there are 7,000 people waiting for transplants but only 2,500 operations a year.

Writing in The Lancet, the authors said: “The shortage of donor organs remains one of the key challenges faced by the international transplant community. In view of our findings, cardiac death donors represent an extremely important and overlooked source of high-quality donor kidneys for transplantation.”

The Kidney Advisory Group of the organisation that oversees UK transplantation is currently considering whether to allow cardiac death donations to enter the national allocation scheme.

Dr Rob Higgins of the National Kidney Federation explained that most units in the UK have offered patients a choice as to whether to receive a kidney from a cardiac death donor or not.

He said that while many patients had chosen not to have this option on the basis of previously reported outcomes, he suggested the new information should prompt them to reconsider that choice.

 

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Article Information

Title: Change in kidney transplant policy
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 15829
Date Added: 19th Aug 2010

Sources

BBC News

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