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More Cystic Fibrosis Patients Will Die Waiting For Lung Transplants, Predicts University Of Pittsburgh Study

New International Guidelines Subject Of Paper Given At Heart And Lung Transplant Meeting

SAN FRANCISCO, April 23 -- The number of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) who die waiting for lung transplants will likely increase if surgeons are required to follow new international wait-listing guidelines and current geographic disparities in waiting times persist, a surgeon from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) reported today at the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation's 19th annual meeting in San Francisco.

Robert J. Keenan, M.D., who heads the lung transplant program at the UPMC, said the results of his study, which examined outcomes of 164 CF patients evaluated for transplantation, indicate that the medical criteria adopted last year by the transplant community are too restrictive. As such, in the United States, where organs are allocated in a local-first system, this would limit the window of opportunity that donor organs can be found.

"At our center, and at other centers in the United States that tend to have longer waiting times, we expect there to be substantial mortality on the waiting list. If geographic disparities in waiting times were minimized, these guidelines might be more reasonable for medical practice," said Dr. Keenan, associate professor of surgery in the division of cardiothoracic surgery.

More than 25 percent of all patients needing lungs die waiting, according to figures from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), and these rates vary from region to region. Patients with CF account for more than a third of all those needing double lungs and about 15 percent of those needing hearts and lungs. CF is the most common fatal genetic disease among the Caucasian race.

"Based on our results, two things must happen. First, we need to take a closer look at the outcomes of CF patients at other centers and re-evaluate the merits of the current guidelines. Secondly, we need t
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Contact: Lisa Rossi
rossiL@msx.upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
23-Apr-1999


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