can save many lives, helping terminally ill patients. Though
the importance of organ donation is well understood, organ donation from older
patients has been avoided.
‘Kidney donation from deceased older patients could help bridge the gap between demand and supply.’
However, a new study by the American College of
Nephrology shows that kidneys donated from people between
- 50-59 years
- 60-69 years
- 70-79 years
- 80 years
similar patient and organ survival rate. This is a landmark study that could
now aid in the use of kidney from donors who are at an advanced age.
Organ donation is when
healthy tissue or an organ is transplanted while the donor is alive or
immediately after death. Kidney
is considered to be the first line of defense when the
kidneys of the patient fail or are unable to function properly. However, due to
the lack of kidney donors, dialysis is carried out to facilitate removal of
to The Centre For Disease Control
- 20 million people
live with chronic kidney disease
- 600,000 are on
- 100,000 await
- 16,000 kidney
transplants are carried out every year.
The number of kidney
transplants that are carried out every year is too few to cater to the
increasing demand. A landmark study was carried out by Wolfe RA and colleagues
to determine whether patients on dialysis, patients on the waiting list for
kidney transplant or patients who undergo kidney transplant had a better
prognosis. The study found that patients who had undergone a kidney
transplant had a mortality rate that was 48 to 82% lower than patients who were
on the waiting list.
Addressing Shortage of
The number of people who
await a kidney transplant is huge, but the number of kidney
donors is very small. A considerable number of kidneys are rejected from
transplantation citing old age of the donor. Efforts are being made by
scientists to determine if such kidneys should be discarded or if they can be
effectively used in organ donation.
The study was published in The Clinical
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN) to determine if quality
kidneys should be discarded only because they are from a donor who is older.
University of Torino's Dr. Luigi Biancone and colleagues analyzed kidney
transplant from diseased patients that were performed at The University of
Turin, during the period from 2003 to 2013.
- 647 kidney
transplants were analyzed.
- From donors
greater than 60 years
- From donors
between 50 to 59 years.
- 5-year patient
survival rate ranged from 87.8% to 90.1%
- 5-year patient
kidney survival rate ranged from 65.9% to 75.2%
The study also showed
that kidney discard rate was similar for people within the age group of 50 to
79 years but the rate of discard was a lot more for people over 80 years of
The similar patient and
kidney survival rates showed that kidneys need not be discarded based solely on
the age of the patient but there are other factors that could determine whether
the kidney should be used for transplantation.
Dr. Biancone added with caution,
"The results of this study support the use of extended criteria donors,
even donors older than 80 years, but they have to be accurately selected and
managed with dedicated protocols."
Organ donation is not
only a life saver for patients receiving the organ but it can also provide
solace for grieving family of the donor, in the event of donation after a
person's death. It helps family members cope with their loss better as they
believe that their loved one continues to live and they also feel better about
saving another individual's life.
Extending the criteria
for organ donation will provide more donor kidneys for transplantation and aid
in bridging the gap between the number of people awaiting organ donation and
the number of people who have had a successful organ donation.
can now be performed by Robot Assisted surgery
minimally invasive and results in less tissue damage. This surgical procedure
results in less pain after the surgery. Scientists have identified 13 genes that act as biomarkers
fibrosis within three months of a kidney transplant, these factors will aid in
identifying the survival rates after a kidney transplant.
Studies such as these
that re-visit organ donation beliefs and criteria will provide good quality
kidneys that were earlier discarded from use, bringing hope to many people who
await their turn at a kidney transplant.
- 4 Facts You Need to Know About Kidney Transplants and Dialysis - (https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/07/4-facts-you-need-to-know-about-kidney-transplants-and-dialysis/)
- Comparison of mortality in all patients on dialysis, patients on dialysis awaiting transplantation, and recipients of a first cadaveric transplant. - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10580071)