Shorter wait spells longer life for kidney transplant patients

February 22nd, 2009 - 4:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 22 (IANS) Shorter the waiting time at the hospital, the longer the patients are likely to live after a kidney transplant, according to the latest research.
The University of Florida (UF) study is the first to analyse overall survival chances for people waiting for a kidney transplant, rather than for people who had already received a transplant. The study said shorter waiting time could mean that life expectancy goes up by four years.

“Patients want to know their survival long term, not just if they happen to make it to surgery,” said lead researcher Jesse Schold, of UF College of Medicine.

“This is an important paper because it draws attention to an often ignored but critical aspect of transplantation - what happens to patients while they are waiting for a transplant,” said J. Michael Cecka, University of California, Los Angeles, whose group first described in the 1970s the so-called “centre effect.”

“Unfortunately, not every patient who would benefit from a kidney transplant will ever get one - in fact, most of those patients will not get a transplant because there are not enough organs available for transplantation,” Cecka, who was not involved in the current research, said.

Kidney transplantation doubles life expectancy compared with dialysis treatment. On average, wait time in US for a deceased-donor kidney is four to five years, but in some states it is more than seven.

In 2007, at least 70,000 patients were on waiting lists for kidney transplants at one of 240 centres in the US, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, said an UF release.

The UF research evaluated data from 1995 to 2000 on almost 109,000 patients from a national transplant database, using characteristics thought to have the greatest impact on patient survival. Waiting time had the strongest effect on survival once a patient got on a transplant list.

The findings were published in the February issue of Medical Care.

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