Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Thousands of seniors lack access to lifesaving organs, despite survival benefit

Date:
January 12, 2012
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Summary:
Thousands more American senior citizens with kidney disease are good candidates for transplants and could get them if physicians would get past outdated medical biases and put them on transplant waiting lists, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers.

Thousands more American senior citizens with kidney disease are good candidates for transplants and could get them if physicians would get past outdated medical biases and put them on transplant waiting lists, according to a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers.

The Hopkins investigators estimate that between 1999 and 2006, roughly 9,000 adults over 65 would have been "excellent" transplant candidates and approximately 40,000 more older adults would have been "good" candidates for new kidneys. None, however, were given the chance.

"Doctors routinely believe and tell older people they are not good candidates for kidney transplant, but many of them are if they are carefully selected and if factors that really predict outcomes are fully accounted for," says transplant surgeon Dorry L. Segev, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study being published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. "Many older adults can enjoy excellent transplant outcomes in this day and age," he says, and should "be given consideration for this lifesaving treatment."

Those ages 65 and older make up over one-half of people with end-stage renal disease in the United States, and appropriately selected patients in this age group will live longer if they get new kidneys as opposed to remaining on dialysis, Segev says. The trouble is, he adds, that very few older adults are even put on transplant waiting lists. In 2007, only 10.4 percent of dialysis patients between the ages of 65 and 74 were on waiting lists, compared to 33.5 percent of 18- to 44-year-old dialysis patients and 21.9 percent of 45- to 64-year-old dialysis patients.

Segev cautions that some older kidney disease patients are indeed poor transplant prospects, because they have other age-related health problems. But he says his team's new findings, in addition to other recent research, show that new organs can greatly improve survival even in this age group.

Segev and his team constructed a statistical model for predicting how well older adults would be expected to do after kidney transplantation by taking into account age, smoking, diabetes and 16 other health-related variables. Using those data to define an "excellent" candidate, the information was then applied to every person 65 and older on dialysis during the seven-year study period. The researchers also determined whether these candidates were already on the waiting list.

"We have this regressive attitude toward transplantation in older adults," Segev says, "one based on historical poor outcomes in older patients, which no longer hold up. Anyone who can benefit from kidney transplantation should at least be given a chance. They should at least be put on the list."

Segev says he knows there is a shortage of kidneys and some will question whether scarce organs would be put to better use in younger patients. But Segev's study predicts that more than 10 percent of older patients would get kidneys from living relatives or friends, which would have little impact on the nationwide shortage of deceased donor kidneys. But finding a living donor first requires referral for transplantation.

"By not referring older adults for transplant, we're not just denying them a chance at a kidney from a deceased donor, but we're potentially denying them a kidney from a live donor," he adds.

According to research by Segev and his team published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, live kidney donation is very safe for both donor and recipient, and more older adults are donating their kidneys to relatives. Other research done by Segev has shown that older kidney transplant recipients do well with kidneys from older donors, organs that are otherwise be rejected for use in younger patients.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Federation for Aging Research.

Other Hopkins researchers involve in the research include Morgan E. Grams, M.D., M.H.S.; Lauren M. Kucirka, M.H.S.; Colleen Hanrahan, M.S.; Robert A. Montgomery, M.D., D.Phil.; and Alan B. Massie, M.H.S.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Thousands of seniors lack access to lifesaving organs, despite survival benefit." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112111946.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2012, January 12). Thousands of seniors lack access to lifesaving organs, despite survival benefit. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112111946.htm
Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Thousands of seniors lack access to lifesaving organs, despite survival benefit." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120112111946.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins