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October 5, 2005

The Importance of Innovative Efforts to Increase Organ Donation

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

JAMA. 2005;294(13):1691-1693. doi:10.1001/jama.294.13.1691

In the United States, patients with end-stage renal disease have 2 treatment options: dialysis or a kidney transplant. Those choosing a transplant have 2 donor choices: a living donor or a deceased donor.

Considerable information has been accumulated to help guide patient choices. Compared with dialysis, a transplant leads to a longer life,1 enhances quality of life,2 and is cost-effective for the health care system.3 Moreover, a living donor transplant (either related or unrelated) leads to better outcomes (patient and graft survival) than a deceased donor transplant.4 Thus, for patients with end-stage renal disease who are medically eligible for a transplant, the best treatment choice is a living donor transplant. In the last 2 decades, it has been recognized that unrelated living donor transplants have results equivalent to related living donor transplants. In 2004, unrelated living donor transplants accounted for more than 34% of living donor transplants performed in the United States.5