"Performing double transplants using kidneys that would otherwise be discarded may be one viable solution to the growing shortage of organs for transplantation," said Robert Stratta, M.D., co-author of a study being presented today at a meeting of the Central Surgical Association in Louisville, Ky.
During the 45-month study period, 19 patients underwent double transplants using organs from deceased donors that had been turned down by other centers because of limited function. The kidneys had marginal filtering capacity either because they were very small from children or they were from older adults who had begun to lose some kidney function.
"Patients who received double kidney transplants had similar short-term outcomes to patients who received single transplants," said Stratta. "In our short-term followup, we found that we could achieve excellent patient survival and kidney function using marginal kidneys if they are both transplanted into a single recipient."
The mean ages of the donors were 22 months for the pediatric kidneys and 65 years for the adult kidneys. Patient survival in both groups was 100 percent during a followup period of 20 months for those receiving adult kidneys and 10 months for those receiving pediatric kidneys. Kidney graft survival rates were 87 percent and 100 percent, respectively.
Stratta said a key to success is selecting patients with a lower risk of rejection and matching the estimated function of the kidneys to the needs of the recipient. People are normally born with two kidneys but require only about half the capacity of one kidney, depending on their age, size and other factors.