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Dead Donors Are a Source of Transplantable Kidneys

No outcome difference for grafts from non-heart-beating and heart-beating donors younger than age 60

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- The graft survival rates of transplanted kidneys from donors who died due to an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are as good as those from heart-beating kidney donors who are younger than age 60, according to a study published in the Aug. 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Ana I. Sanchez-Fructuoso, M.D., of Hospital Clinico San Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and colleagues compared outcomes in 320 patients who received kidney transplants from non-heart-beating donors who had cardiac arrest outside the hospital and 584 patients who received a kidney transplant from heart-beating donors.

Among patients who received transplants from heart-beating donors younger than age 60, the researchers found that one- and five-year graft survival rates were 90.7 percent, and 85.5 percent, respectively. The rates were 87.4 percent and 82.1 percent in those with a non-heart-beating donor, a statistically insignificant difference. Lower graft survival rates were seen in patients who received kidneys from heart-beating donors who were older than age 60.

"There are many 'opportunities for action' to increase the supply of transplantable organs," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "The media tend to focus on the most controversial proposals, such as buying and selling organs, rather than the less dramatic but potentially very effective proposals, such as donation after circulatory determination of death."

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