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Kidneys From Dead Older Donors May Help Seniors, Study Finds

Many of these organs would otherwise get thrown away, researcher says

THURSDAY, March 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Older people who need a kidney transplant are better off receiving an available organ from an older deceased donor rather than waiting for one from a younger donor, a new study shows.

While kidneys from older donors can't provide younger patients with a lifetime of kidney function, they are suitable for older people because of their shorter life expectancy, the researchers explained.

Even though more than 100,000 people in the United States are waiting for a kidney transplant, most kidneys from deceased donors 65 and older are discarded, the study authors said. Making greater use of those kidneys could shorten kidney transplant waiting lists.

The researchers analyzed data from Europe and the United States. They found that people aged 60 and older who need a kidney transplant are better off getting a kidney from a deceased older donor right away, rather than waiting for an organ from a younger donor.

The study was published online March 26 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

"Older patients derive a survival benefit from rapid transplantation with an older donor kidney, while younger patients do not derive a benefit from transplantation from an older kidney," study co-leader Dr. John Gill, of the University of British Columbia in Canada, said in a journal news release.

"Ensuring older patients can access older donor kidneys should be a priority in the United States. This may involve increased utilization of older donor kidneys or possibly excluding younger patients from receiving these kidneys," he added.

More information

The National Kidney Foundation has more about kidney transplant.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, news release, March 26, 2015
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