Kidney Transplant Worth the Wait: Study

Even those who have to wait three years live longer than those on dialysis

MONDAY, Nov. 1, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A long wait, even up to three years, for a kidney transplant is worth it, claims a Canadian study presented Oct. 31 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology in St. Louis.

The study found that even after a long wait, patients with kidney failure who received transplants lived longer than those who remained on dialysis.

"Since the waiting period for kidney transplants has become so long, there is concern that the benefit of receiving a transplant is negated by the long waiting period," study author J.S. Gill, an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, said in a prepared statement.

"To our surprise, the findings show that transplant candidates should receive kidney transplants, regardless of the anticipated waiting period," Gill said.

The researchers examined information on more than 60,000 patients on the United States Renal Data System waiting list from 1995 to 2000. The results showed that when waiting times for kidney transplants increased from one year to three years, the survival benefit of a kidney transplant decreased by nearly five months.

But even when patients waited three years for a kidney transplant, they survived more than seven years longer than patients who remained on dialysis. The risk of death after a kidney transplant was the same, regardless of how long a patient waited for the transplant.

In the past eight years, the waiting list for kidney transplants has increased by 43 percent and the median wait time for a kidney transplant is now one year to two years.

More information

The National Kidney Foundation has more about kidney transplant.

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, Oct. 31, 2004
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