Cutting Wait Time for New Kidneys

Kidney transplant recipient candidates get on transplant waitlist sooner through one day evaluation

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Kidney transplants save lives. But the time it takes to get a new kidney is sometimes the difference between life and death. For some patients, the long wait means more time on dialysis, upping the chance of complications.

Kidney patients who underwent a special one-day evaluation were placed on the kidney transplant waitlist much sooner than those who underwent the normal evaluation.

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"Waiting time for a kidney transplant is calculated from the date the patient is placed on the UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) waitlist to the date the patient undergoes transplant," said Richard N. Formica, Jr., MD, of Yale University School of Medicine, and colleagues.

The time between transplant evaluation and being placed on the waitlist is often not included in measures of wait time, the authors said. This means that some patients - those who go through longer evaluation times - may be on dialysis longer than others.

Studies have shown that some groups of patients take longer to be put on the waitlist, which means they may have less access to kidney transplants.

Dr. Formica and colleagues wanted to see if a certain type of evaluation could speed up the time it takes to be put on the waitlist.

Kidney transplant evaluations involve a series of medical tests, exams and interviews. In some cases, these evaluations can require multiple visits to the transplant center.

The special evaluation in this study lasted only one day in which the transplant center ran all the necessary tests needed to achieve the minimal standards to be put on the kidney transplant waitlist.

The researchers found that patients involved in the one-day evaluation waited only about 46 days to be put on the waitlist. In comparison, those who underwent the normal evaluation waited about 226 days.

Patients who underwent the one-day evaluation were three times more likely to be put on the waitlist, compared to those who underwent normal evaluation.

The study included 905 patients, 378 of whom underwent normal evaluation and 527 of whom underwent the one-day evaluation.

The research was published in the August issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

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Review Date: 
August 13, 2012
Last Updated:
August 16, 2012