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Obesity May Hinder Access to Kidney Transplantation

Strong relationship seen between increased weight and decreased transplant opportunities

FRIDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- In patients who need a kidney transplant, obesity is associated with a decreased likelihood of receiving one, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Dorry L. Segev, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a secondary data analysis of 132,353 patients who were registered for kidney transplantation in the United States between 1995 and 2006.

Compared to a reference group of patients with a normal body mass index, the researchers found that those who were obese were significantly less likely to receive a transplant (adjusted hazard ratios 0.96 for overweight, 0.93 for obese, 0.72 for severely obese, and 0.56 for morbidly obese). They also found obese patients were significantly more likely to be bypassed when a kidney became available (adjusted incidence rate ratio 1.02 for overweight, 1.05 for obese, 1.11 for severely obese, and 1.22 for morbidly obese).

"Although matching an available organ with an appropriate recipient requires clinical judgment, which could not be fully captured in this study, the observed differences are dramatic and warrant further studies to understand this effect better and to design a system that is less susceptible to unintended bias," the authors conclude.

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