Are doctors discarding donor kidneys that could save lives?Staff Writer | July 8, 2017
U.S. doctors are discarding donated kidneys that could keep people alive for years, simply because the organs are not top-quality, a new study claims.
Organs The organs are not top-quality
About 73 percent of lower-quality kidneys received by Columbia patients were still functioning five years after transplant, Mohan and his colleagues found.
"To our surprise, yes, they did worse than the best-quality kidneys, but they didn't do that poorly," Mohan said.
By comparison, the five-year survival rate for kidney patients on dialysis is about 35 percent, Mohan said.
"If I don't get a kidney, my alternative is to stay on dialysis," Mohan said. "Even getting a suboptimal kidney provides a huge survival advantage."
Unfortunately, about 1 in 5 donated kidneys winds up in a trash can in the United States, Mohan said, even though the United Network for Organ Sharing shows more than 97,000 people are now on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.
These kidneys are discarded because biopsies of donated organs reveal scarring or other problems that make them less than ideal, Mohan said. ■