Elderly Patients May Be Better Off With Available Older Donor Kidneys

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Elderly Patients, Available Older Donor Kidneys
Elderly Patients, Available Older Donor Kidneys

(HealthDay News) — Older patients who need a kidney transplant are better off receiving an available organ from an older deceased donor rather than waiting for one from a younger donor, according to a new study published online March 26 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

While kidneys from older donors can't provide younger patients with a lifetime of kidney function, they are suitable for older people because of their shorter life expectancy, the researchers explained. Even though more than 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for a kidney transplant, most kidneys from deceased donors ≥65 are discarded, the study authors said. Making greater use of those kidneys could shorten kidney transplant waiting lists.

The researchers analyzed data from Europe and the United States. They found that people aged ≥60 who need a kidney transplant are better off getting a kidney from a deceased older donor right away, rather than waiting for an organ from a younger donor.

"Older patients derive a survival benefit from rapid transplantation with an older donor kidney, while younger patients do not derive a benefit from transplantation from an older kidney," study co-leader John Gill, MD, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, said in a journal news release. "Ensuring older patients can access older donor kidneys should be a priority in the United States. This may involve increased utilization of older donor kidneys or possibly excluding younger patients from receiving these kidneys," he added.

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