Donors with acute kidney injury can donate organs too

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Chronic Back Pain | Photo: Morgan Sherwood
Chronic Back Pain | Photo: Morgan Sherwood

A national study chaired by a Johns Hopkins kidney specialist shows AKI patients are eligible donors

Organ procurement teams are sometimes leery of accepting kidneys from deceased donors with acute kidney injury (AKI), There is a fear that they will harm the recipients.

However, a national study chaired by a Johns Hopkins kidney specialist suggests these fears may be unfounded.

Results of the study, published in the journal Kidney International, suggest that patients in need of kidney transplant could have access to more kidneys–potentially shortening organ waiting list times, the investigators say.

“Acutely injured deceased-donor kidneys appear to have the same success rates as noninjured kidneys from otherwise similar donors”

With the field of medicine moving toward a system that focuses on the improvement of patient safety while reducing health care costs, this research is a step forward in the high-value health care movement.

“Our results should add to evidence and reassure the general public and the transplant community that acutely injured deceased-donor kidneys appear to have the same success rates as noninjured kidneys from otherwise similar donors,” says Chirag R. Parikh, director of the Division of Nephrology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and senior study author.

“Even transplanted kidneys with the highest severity of AKI did not have worse outcomes, so we should bring these kidneys into the donor pool with confidence,” Parikh adds.

AKI affects about one-third of patients in intensive care units, Parikh says. Hospitalized patients are likely to develop AKI as a complication resulting from reduced blood supply, or administration of medications to increase blood pressure, or from being placed on ventilators.

Deceased donors are likely to develop AKI if they spent time in an ICU following a trauma or other medical or surgical complications.

Physicians worry about patients who develop AKI because they are more likely to have negative long-term consequences, such as chronic kidney disease or premature death, Parikh says.

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