How to make 174 more donor kidneys available per year

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Broadening the geographic range where a number of deceased-donor kidneys would be available would increase the number of transplants, research suggests.

This shift would also improve the lives of patients unlikely to receive one based on where they live, according to the new study.

“The problem is there is a big disparity across different geographies,” says Mazhar Arikan, associate professor of supply chain management in the University of Kansas School of Business. “In more congested or populous regions, the patients have a longer wait time. In the less-congested regions, you don’t need to wait as long. Where you are located is very important in terms of how long you’re going to wait for your kidney.”

Arikan is coauthor of the study in the journal Production and Operations Management. Based on their analysis, the researchers suggest that changing the geographic allocation of so-called lower-quality kidneys could result in anywhere from 58 to 174 additional kidney transplants per year to help more patients get off dialysis treatments and live more normal lives.

“That is a very high number because it is the equivalent of adding one medium-sized transplant center to the system,” Arikan says. “The policy change is very beneficial for patients. You can increase the supply by just making a small change.”

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Corey Bryant serves as Director of Communications for The Alliance.
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