Research Suggests Kidney Donations Should Be Accepted From Older Patients

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Given the choice, most people on the kidney transplant wait list would choose an organ from a younger donor. But in some cases, receiving a lifesaving kidney from an older donor — alive or deceased — may be better than having no donor at all.

This new thinking is being driven, in part, by the shortage of kidneys available for transplant. According to the National Kidney Foundation, of the more than 121,000 people in the United States awaiting an organ transplant, about 100,000 are waiting for a new kidney.

New research shows that while a kidney from an older donor may not last as long as one from a younger person, kidneys from older donors can still work long enough to extend a person’s life and get them off dialysis — providing them with a better quality of life.

One such study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), found that kidneys from donors aged 50 to 79 years can function for years after transplantation.

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