Obesity Shrinks Organ Donor Pool

by Dr. Reeja Tharu on  June 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM Health Watch
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According to a recent American study presented at the National Kidney Foundation's 2012 Spring Clinical Meetings, majority of potential kidney donors are obese, making organ donation difficult for them.
Obesity Shrinks Organ Donor Pool
Obesity Shrinks Organ Donor Pool

Mala Sachdeva, MD, of Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, and the lead author of the study remarks "We all know that the prevalence of obesity is increasing globally and that there is not enough research studying the prevalence of obesity among the population of potential donors. In addition, no one has studied how hard it is to lose weight and then donate."

In the United States alone there are about 92,000 people waiting for their turn for a kidney transplant. Potential donors with a body mass index (BMI) of over 35 are considered obese and are ineligible to donate organs.

Sachdeva's initial study was carried out on potential kidney donors at the North Shore-LIJ Health System Transplant Center on Long Island, NY. Majority of these men (82%) were obese or overweight and hence, were excluded from donating their organs. Only three among the excluded potential donors were successful at shedding weight to a value that would allow them to donate.

The study supports the fact that obesity is indeed a matter of grave concern and new strategies must be developed to conserve the donor pool.

Transplant centers need to come up with more rigorous weight reduction programs, with effective follow-up and peer support structures in order to ensure positive weight-loss outcomes and long-term health.

"As the kidney transplant waiting list grows, there is a great need for living donors," said Lynda Szczech, MD, National Kidney Foundation president. "This study pointed out the impact of obesity as a barrier to donation. As a community, we need to identify ways to overcome this barrier so that we can increase our donor pool and end the wait for transplant."

Organ Donation

Organ donation is a process by which the healthy tissues or organs from one person is transplanted into another individual.

Mostly organs are donated after a person dies. But some organs, like the kidneys, can be donated while a person is still alive. The organs/tissues that can be donated include kidneys, liver, heart, pancreas, intestines, lungs, skin, bone, bone marrow and cornea.

People of all ages above 18 can donate organs by signing a donor card. The family of the donor must be made aware of individual's wishes.

The organs from one dead person can save as many as 8 lives! The success rate for organ donation is between 80 and 90%. There are millions of people who die while waiting for organs or life-saving tissues. To become an organ donor is to be a lifesaver!

Donate Organs -Save lives!

Source: Medindia

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