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Age shouldn't be a factor in kidney transplantation

patients, despite the fact that they usually received kidneys from older donors. Stratta had previously reported on success rates in 129 of these patients after six months and will continue to follow them long-term.

"We no longer consider chronological age to be a contraindication to either organ donation or organ transplantation," Stratta said.

Of the 144 transplants, about one out of four (26 percent) were in patients age 60 and older. The mean age of this group was 65, and seven kidney recipients were older than 70. Most of the patients (62 percent) in the older group received kidneys from older donors that once would have been discarded.

In comparison, the mean age for the younger patients was 46, and only 32 percent received kidneys from older donors.

At least one year after transplant, survival rates for the transplanted kidneys were 86 percent in the older group of recipients and 87 percent in the younger group. Patient survival was 92 percent in the older patients and 98 percent in the younger group.

Stratta said a key to success is using newer methods to match donated kidneys to recipients. In the past, kidneys were matched exclusively by blood and tissue type. Newer approaches to matching have come about as a result of a system implemented by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in October 2002 for allocating higher-risk kidneys that were once considered unsuitable for transplantation and discarded.

These include kidneys from deceased donors over age 60 or those over age 50 with health conditions such as high blood pressure or elevated levels of a protein called creatinine. Levels of creatinine, which is produced by muscle, are used to determine kidney function.

Using kidneys from these donors, which UNOS calls expanded criteria donors (ECDs), permits more patients to benefit from transplantation, Stratta said, but requires careful matching. Wake Forest Baptist has doubled its number of t
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Contact: Karen Richardson
krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu
336-716-4587
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
11-Mar-2005


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