Kidney Transplant Changes

Nearly 125,000 Americans awaited a kidney transplant in 2014

In 2014, nearly 125,000 Americans awaited a kidney transplant; about one-fifth received one. That’s why the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), the government agency that oversees transplants within the Health Resources & Services Administration in the US Department of Health and Human Services, announced changes to its computerized matching system. According to the agency, now younger, healthier recipients will have higher priority, and racial and socioeconomic disparities will be reduced.

Changes that will take place in 2015 include:

• Starting wait time from the date a patient begins dialysis, not when he/she is added to the kidney transplant list
• Matching kidneys expected to last the longest with recipients expected to live the longest
• Providing more opportunities for candidates with rare blood types
• Improving priority for people whose immune system is not compatible with most donated kidneys

For more information on how donors and recipients are matched, and how the transplant list works, go to: optn.transplant.hrsa.gov.