A survey of published cases worldwide found that the one-year survival rate for people with mental retardation who received kidney transplants was 100 percent, and the three-year survivor rate was 90 percent.
"That's comparable to national survival rates for the overall population, said Steven Reiss, co-author of the study and professor of psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State University .
"From these results, there doesn't seem to be any reason to think the mentally retarded are not good candidates for transplants."
Reiss, who is director of Ohio State 's Nisonger Center for Mental Retardation, conducted the study with Marilee Martens, a researcher at the Nisonger Center , and Linda Jones, former CEO of Lifeline of Ohio, an organization that coordinates organ recoveries. It will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Pediatric Transplantation.
This study is the first to compile outcome results from around the world among mentally retarded transplant patients. The results help answer concerns about whether transplants would be successful in people with mental retardation, Martens said.
"Many people in the medical community have been unsure about how people with MR would fare with transplants," she said. "But now we have evidence that it does work, and that people with MR are appropriate candidates to receive organ transplants."
The researchers examined the medical literature to find any published cases they could about kidney transplants the most common transplanted organ -- among people with MR. Kidneys were studied because there are few recorded cases of liver or heart transplants in people with MR.
In some cases, the researcher contacted doctors involved in the kidney transplant studies to get more information, or to find new, unpublished c