NEW YORK—A new procedure for evaluating potential transplant recipients can significantly reduce the time it takes to be added to the transplant waiting list, according to findings published in the August issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).
Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine found that a one-day, centralized work-up that coordinates all of the tests and assessments needed for transplant evaluation resulted in patients being placed on the list in an average of 46 days. Those who went through standard, piecemeal evaluations had to wait, on average, 226 days to be added to the list.
"Studies have shown that the longer a kidney patient waits to be placed on the list, the higher the risk of death following a successful transplant," said Sanjay Kulkarni, MD, the lead author on the study and the director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at Yale University School of Medicine. "By markedly reducing the listing time, we hope to improve patient survival following transplant, increase access to a kidney transplant faster and decrease dialysis exposure."
Typically, kidney transplant evaluations are coordinated between a patient and his doctor. The evaluation involves numerous tests for potential medical problems, as well as surveys and questions regarding issues such as a patient's financial status and family support network. Kulkarni's team instead used a one-day procedure that was handled in the transplant centers.
"A transplant center’s willingness to adopt the responsibility translates into better access to kidney transplant and potentially could improve patient outcomes," he noted.