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More old people dying waiting for transplants

Posted Jun 19 2009 5:41pm
Nearly half of kidney transplant waiting list patients over age 60 are at risk of dying before they receive a deceased-donor organ, according to a paper published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

A MedPage Today story says the paper's authors projected that 46% of older patients placed on the waiting list in 2006-07 would die before receiving a deceased-donor transplant, up from a projected 22% in 1995.

The waiting time for a deceased-donor transplant rose significantly from 1995 to 2007, as demand for transplantable organs grew faster than supply.

Things may get even worse for older patients who need transplants. The United Network for organ sharing is studying a proposed policy for organ allocation that would give younger patients more rapid access to deceased-donor transplants at the expense of older patients.

Meanwhile, half of the organs that could be donated are buried or cremated instead. A big reason for this is that UNOS allocation policies allow people who haven't agreed to donate their organs when they die to remain eligible to receive organs if they need one to live. If UNOS allocated organs first to registered organ donors, more people would donate their organs and fewer people would die waiting for transplants.

If you'd like to donate your organs to other registered organ donors, please join LifeSharers at www.lifesharers.org.

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