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Transplanting kidneys from people who had kidney failure

Posted Oct 02 2009 12:00am
Kidneys recovered from deceased donors with acute kidney failure appear to work just as well as kidneys transplanted from deceased donors who do not develop kidney problems prior to organ donation, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center:
"There is a critical shortage of donor organs and we are continually making efforts to expand the donor pool," said Robert J. Stratta, M.D., professor of surgery and director of transplantation at Wake Forest Baptist and senior investigator on the study. "While kidneys from deceased donors with ARF have been considered unusable in the past, our study shows they can work quite well. The function of the new kidney may be slow or delayed - and patients may have to continue dialysis for a week or two until the kidney is up and running - but that's really the only downside. Choosing to utilize these kidneys will greatly shorten the waiting time for people who are willing to accept a kidney from this kind of donor."
Nobody should think they're too sick (or too old) to be an organ donor. People who need transplants would rather live with imperfect organs than die waiting for perfect ones.

As transplant medicine continues to advance, surgeons will continue to transplant lots of organs once thought unusable. Transplanting kidneys from people who suffered acute kidney failure will expand the supply of kidneys by about 1,000 per year. It's a shame Americans continue to bury or cremate 10,000 transplantable kidneys every year.

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