Sunday, December 20, 2015

HEALTHBEAT: Hardest-to-match patients get more transplants in first year of new kidney rules

Star Tribune | LAURAN NEERGAARD Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A shake-up of the nation's kidney transplant system means more organs are getting to patients once thought nearly impossible to match, according to early tracking of the new rules.

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.

In Abingdon, Virginia, 8-year-old Marshall Jones was one of the lucky first recipients. A birth defect severely damaged his kidneys and a failed transplant when he was younger left his immune system abnormally primed to reject kidneys from 99 percent of donors. Continue reading


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