Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Market For Kidneys?

Over at the Faculty Lounge, Kimberly Krawiec has a post summarizing a recent Wall Street Journal editorial and some of her work on kidney donations:

As a preview, the main takeaways from the paper that I plan to hit in these posts are the following:

  • When properly measured, the gap between kidney need and supply is even larger than typically assumed and there is little reason to expect that trend to abate under current conditions
  • The prospects are dim for increasing kidney donation rates under the current system: donation levels have been static overall since 2006, and donations from living kidney donors have actually declined from their 2003 peak. Moreover, most kidneys from suitable deceased donors are already procured -- even a perfect deceased organ consent and allocation system would not yield nearly enough kidneys to cover the amount needed per year to satisfy unmet demand
  • Kidney transplantation is less expensive and results in better health outcomes than dialysis.  Furthermore, living donor kidneys provide health advantages as compared to deceased donor kidneys.
  • Many current innovations in transplantation are positive and should be encouraged, but will not increase kidney transplants in sufficient numbers to close the need-supply gap, at least not in the foreseeable future

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