Organ donors gave more than 2 million years of life to sick patients

Kidney transplant

Hearts, kidneys and other donated organs have added more than 2 million years to the lives of the American patients who received them, according to a new analysis.

That tally, published this week by the journal JAMA Surgery, covers 25 years of organ donation in the U.S. Researchers started with 1987, the year when the United Network for Organ Sharing began keeping track of all organ transplants in the U.S.

Between Sept. 1, 1987, and Dec. 31, 2012, 533,329 patients received a donated organ (or perhaps two). Another 579,506 patients were put on the UNOS waiting list but didn’t get an organ. By comparing the outcomes for patients in both groups, the researchers were able to calculate how much longer the transplant recipients lived as a result of their new organs.

So far, that number adds up to 2,270,859 years – a “stellar accomplishment,” according to the study authors.

And that number will keep on getting bigger as long as any of the transplant recipients are still alive. More than half of those extra years – 1,372,969 of them – have been lived by people who had kidney transplants, the researchers calculated. Another 465,296 extra years have been lived by recipients of new livers, and 269,715 years have been lived by people who got new hearts. The other beneficiaries included people who received new lungs (64,575 extra years), a new pancreas (14,903 extra years), a pancreas and a kidney (79,198 extra years) and intestines (4,402 extra years).

The analysis does not include patients who had rare kinds of transplants, such as heart-pancreas transplants and liver-lung transplants, because there were too few of these procedures to be able to make good comparisons with patients who needed such transplants but didn’t get them.The researchers also calculated the number of years gained per patient, based on the type of transplant they received. By this measure, heart transplants were the most successful, giving patients an extra 4.9 years, on average. Patients who had a combined pancreas-kidney transplant (to treat kidney failure due to type 1 diabetes) lived an average of 4.6 years longer than their counterparts who went on the wait list but didn’t get new organs. Kidney recipients averaged 4.4 extra years, liver recipients averaged 4.3 extra years, intestine recipients averaged 2.8 extra years and pancreas recipients averaged 2.6 extra years, according to the study.

These results may cause some people to rethink the benefits of organ transplants, the researchers wrote. For instance, a kidney transplant is often viewed as “merely a life-enhancing” surgery, since someone who doesn’t get a new kidney can make do on dialysis. But with a typical kidney transplant patient benefiting more than a typical liver transplant patient, the operation should be considered “a lifesaving procedure,” they wrote.

The same argument can be made for transplants involving a pancreas, which are sometimes viewed as “simply a convenient insulin replacement therapy,” they added.

All of this good news was tempered by one statistic, however: only 48% of patients sick enough to be put on the UNOS waiting list are able to get new organs, according to the study. That means more people need to be willing to donate their organs.

“The critical shortage of donors continues to hamper this field,” the researchers wrote. If more donors come forward and more transplants are performed, Americans can make good on the “tremendous potential to do even more good for humankind in the future.”

“Family keeps faith in difficult time”

 

Check out our president -elect, Shaminder Gupta’s response to an article featured in the Times Picayune on home dialysis.

I enjoyed the article and I would like to comment on other dialysis options that are available to young dialysis patients like Darin Tassin.

I am the president-elect of the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana and am passionate about the use of home-based dialysis options.  In the United States, there are currently 600,000 patients on dialysis yet only 10 percent utilize home-based dialysis.  If you ask health care providers what type of dialysis they would choose for themselves or a loved one, 90 percent would choose a home-based therapy.

 There is a general lack of education about dialysis options for patients and there is a general fear among patients about home dialysis.  These two issues need to be reconciled to help provide the best care for patients like Mr. Tassin.

 Home-dialysis options include peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis.  There are new centers in the area that focus only on these treatments and actually come to the patient’s home to train the patient and spouse or caregiver. 

 Shaminder Gupta, MD

Houma

 

For more information about dialysis modality options, please contact the National Kidney Foundation of Louisiana, 504-861-4500 or visit the website:   www.kidneyla.org

Watch these videos for local patients and their experiences with home dialysis:  http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxuI_gNQfLk1QsTU0UTBdQ.

 Walking- A Natural Way To Prevent Chronic Kidney Disease

In recent surveys conducted by Statistics Canada, it was found that approximately 30% of the population reported walking regularly (four or more times per week) and that 70% walked at least once in the past three months. Naturally, walking is a simple activity for enhancing health and well-being.  In fact, in a recent study by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center on the relationship between steps/day and metabolic health, it was found that approximately 56% of people in the lowest category of steps/day had metabolic syndrome (defined by having the presence of three or more cardiovascular disease risk factors) compared to only 13% of people in the highest steps/day group.

Furthermore, the odds of having metabolic syndrome was 10% lower for every additional 1000 steps/day people took.  So, even though moderate and vigorous levels of physical activity is important to one’s health, the total amount of physical activity as measured by steps/day is also a significant factor.

Action Tip: 
If you have a pedometer, track your daily steps over the next three days to determine your baseline average steps per day, and then see if you can increase that number by 1000 steps/day.  If you don’t have a pedometer, create a personal route that you routinely walk on your activity tracker and count the steps total.  At the end of three days, extend your route by an extra 1,000 steps!Source: Taking Steps to Improve Health by Walking Peter T. Katzmarzyk, PhD, Associate Executive Director for Population Science and Louisiana Public Facilities Authority Endowed Chair in Nutrition, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA. Research UPDATE published by the Alberta Centre for Active Living March 2011.

2015 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE :

Monday, April 13, 2015- 18th Annual Alexandria Golf Invitational benefiting the National Kidney Foundation @ OakWing Golf Club

Monday, June 8, 2015- 19th Annual Baton Rouge Liberty Mutual Invitational benefiting the National Kidney Foundation @ Country Club of Louisiana

Monday, June 22, 2015- 2015 Squire Creek Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational benefiting the National Kidney Foundation @ Squire Creek Country Club

Monday, October 26, 2015- 25th Annual New Orleans Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational benefiting the National Kidney Foundation @ English Turn Golf & Country Club

Monday, November 9, 2015- 20th Annual Lafayette Liberty Mutual Insurance Invitational benefiting the National Kidney Foundation @ Oakbourne Country Club

Enjoy a great day of golf with your friends! Your support raises money for the Foundation’s programs and services. In addition, you can compete for the opportunity to play at Pinehurst, home of the 2014 U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open. Please contact  David Warner to register.


Say Yes! To Organ Donation

Become a donor by signing up on the Donate Life Louisiana website. When you say Yes! on your driver’s license, you are then registered as an organ, eye, and tissue donor.