More donor kidneys go to waste on the weekends

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Donor kidneys that would typically be made available for transplant are less likely to be procured over the weekend, according to new research recently published in Kidney International.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Scientific Registry of Transplants on more than 180,000 deceased donor kidneys recovered for transplant between 2000 and. They found that kidney procurement from donors occurred at a rate of 90.2 percent during the week and 89.5 percent on the weekend. They also found that kidneys procured over the weekend were about 20 percent more likely to be discarded than kidneys acquired during the week. The kidneys discarded on the weekends were also found to be of higher quality than those discarded on weekdays.

"This high discard rate is concerning especially given the worsening organ shortage in the U.S., but the factors contributing to this are poorly understood," said Sumit Mohan, MD, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York and lead investigator of the study.

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More than 5,000 patients die waiting for a kidney transplant every year in the U.S. Approximately 2,700 kidneys procured for transplantation end up discarded.

"Factors other than kidney quality appear to influence whether kidneys will be used for transplantation...our study underscores the need to identify and understand these factors. Policies and strategies to lower discard rates and improve transplantation outcomes are necessary to improve organ allocation and utilization," said Dr. Mohan.

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