Friday, October 02, 2009

Transplanting kidneys from people who had kidney failure

Kidneys recovered from deceased donors with acute kidney failure appear to work just as well as kidneys transplanted from deceased donors who do not develop kidney problems prior to organ donation, according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center:
"There is a critical shortage of donor organs and we are continually making efforts to expand the donor pool," said Robert J. Stratta, M.D., professor of surgery and director of transplantation at Wake Forest Baptist and senior investigator on the study. "While kidneys from deceased donors with ARF have been considered unusable in the past, our study shows they can work quite well. The function of the new kidney may be slow or delayed - and patients may have to continue dialysis for a week or two until the kidney is up and running - but that's really the only downside. Choosing to utilize these kidneys will greatly shorten the waiting time for people who are willing to accept a kidney from this kind of donor."
Nobody should think they're too sick (or too old) to be an organ donor. People who need transplants would rather live with imperfect organs than die waiting for perfect ones.

As transplant medicine continues to advance, surgeons will continue to transplant lots of organs once thought unusable. Transplanting kidneys from people who suffered acute kidney failure will expand the supply of kidneys by about 1,000 per year. It's a shame Americans continue to bury or cremate 10,000 transplantable kidneys every year.

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Conrad said...

The effort to convince more people to donate their organs is great. But LifeSharers completely misses the point of this gift. "Gift" implies no reciprocity. When one truly gives, as one does with his or her organs, she should expect NOTHING in return. Not even gratitude. That's the idea of a gift.

The premise behind LifeSharers is remarkably selfish and, as a man of faith, it offends my sense of morality and aspirations for a Christian life.

All whose faith and morality allows should be organ donors, and should be urged to do so. But to commit such a "gift" first to those who have offered their own organs ignores so many practical and philosophical realities as to reduce this gift to the likes of a smoke-filled room agreement. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

What about those who CANNOT (or even misunderstand that they cannot) donate their organs because they are all too weakened or sickened by their condition? Are they less deserving?

What about children whose parents have not signed them up as organ donors but, given the circumstances their parents would willingly donate their organs? Those children awaiting a transplant themselves are then put to the back of the line because they have not previously registered? That's sick, wrong, and selfish.

What LifeSharers offers is a shell that is no more than self-righteousness that cannot withstand scrutiny.

Dave said...


There is no one who CANNOT donate their organs. Everyone is welcome to join LifeSharers.

By creating an incentive for non-donors to become donors, LifeSharers is increasing the number of organ donors. This will lead to fewer people dying waiting for transplants. Saving more lives is the whole point, and arguments about gifts, selfishness, and self-righteousness pale in comparison.

Craig said...


You didn't mention: Are you an organ donor?

Anonymous said...

Well.. I don't know...I still believe that in acute kidney failure there is certainly ischemia/ kidney tissue injury, although modest to moderate. If I were a kidney recipient, I would prefer a non-diseased one. This is only one study and more evidence is needed for us to conclude or to assume anything.. remember, we are on the age of evidence-based medicine!