Public Release: 

Are promises made to living donors being upheld?

American Society of Nephrology

Highlight

  • Most prior living kidney donors in the United States who later need a transplant receive one quickly, but some are not readily given the priority they were promised when they donated.

  • About 40 to 50 prior living donors in the United States are added to the kidney waiting list each year, and more than 130,000 living kidney donors have donated over the past several decades.

Washington, DC (September 1, 2016) -- A new study finds some shortcomings by the transplant community in providing prompt access to transplantation for living kidney donors who later develop kidney disease and need a transplant. Donors are told that they will have priority for transplantation if they ever need a kidney, so any delays in providing this access must be addressed. The study's results appear in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

Jennifer Wainright, PhD (United Network for Organ Sharing, or UNOS) and her colleagues examined how consistently living donors get transplant priority in a timely fashion, using information from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), which includes data on all donors, wait-listed candidates, and transplant recipients in the United States. UNOS is the private, non-profit organization that manages the nation's organ transplant system under contract with the federal government..

Among the major findings:

  • There were 210 prior living donors added to the OPTN kidney waiting list between January 1, 2010 and July 31, 2015.
  • As of September 2015, 167 of the donors received deceased donor transplants, 6 received living donor transplants, 2 died, 5 were too sick to transplant, and 29 were still waiting.
  • Median waiting time to receive a deceased donor transplant for prior living donors was 98 days.
  • Only 40.7% of the donors were listed before they began dialysis; 68.3% were in inactive status, which means they were not eligible for organs, for <90 days, 17.6% for 90-365 days, 8.6% for 1-2 years, and 5.4% for >2 years.
  • Median time for prior living donors waiting in active status before receiving priority was 2 days; 67.4% received priority within 7 days after activation, but 15.4% waited 8-30 days, 8.1% 1-3 months, 4.1% 3-12 months, and 5.0% waited >1 year in active status for priority.
  • After receiving priority, most were transplanted quickly, and the median time in active status with priority before deceased donor transplant was 23 days.

"We found that most prior living kidney donors on the kidney waiting list are transplanted quickly, but some spend periods of time waiting in inactive status. Others wait weeks or months on the waiting list without priority access, which must be requested by their transplant hospital," said Dr. Wainright. "UNOS has developed procedures and education that aims to reduce these delays in the future."

###

Study co-authors include Anna Kucheryavaya, MS, David Klassen, MD, and Darren Stewart, MS.

The authors reported no financial disclosures.

The article, entitled "Delays in Prior Living Kidney Donors Receiving Priority on the Transplant Waiting List," will appear online at http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/ on Sept. 1, 2016, doi: 10.2215/CJN.01360216.

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has nearly 16,000 members representing 112 countries. For more information, please visit http://www.asn-online.org or contact us at 202-640-4660.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.