It’s been a year since the United Network for Organ Sharing changed rules for the transplant waiting list, aiming to decrease disparities and squeeze the most benefit from a scarce resource: kidneys from deceased donors. Now data from UNOS shows that the changes are helping certain patients, including giving those expected to live the longest a better shot at the fittest kidneys.
The hope is to “really level the playing field,” said Dr. Mark Aeder, a transplant surgeon at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland who is chairman of the UNOS’ kidney committee.
More than 101,000 people are on the national waiting list, while only about 17,000 kidney transplants are performed each year. Roughly 11,000 of them are with kidneys donated from someone who just died; the rest occur when a patient is able to find a living donor.
The wait for a deceased-donor kidney varies around the country, and in 2014, more than 4,500 people died before their turn.
The new kidney allocation system can’t alleviate the overall organ shortage. “The only thing to shorten total wait time for everybody is more organ donors,” Aeder said.
Read more at the Portland Press Herald.