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The premier resource for hospital professionals from Relias Media, the trusted source for healthcare information and continuing education.

To not grow old is to die young: Kidney donor pool expands

Having recently celebrated a birthday, it made me realize that there are many aspects about growing older that can be considered negatives. Gray hair, wrinkles, declining health, and everyday aches and pains, all of which seem to be nothing to look forward to.

Many seniors might even feel useless to some degree, unable to do certain things that they use to, or without as much ease. However, something recently was determined to be just as good in a young person as an older individual: a kidney!

Kidney transplants performed using organs from live donors over the age of 70 are safe for the donors and lifesaving for the recipients, according to recently released Johns Hopkins research. The study seems to open up a potential source of additional organs that could address a prodigious national shortage.

A report on the research, published online in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, describes analysis of records from the 219 living people over 70 who donated a kidney in the United States between 1990 and 2010. The team matched those donors with healthy people in the same age group and found that the donors actually lived longer than those who had both of their kidneys.

More than 90,000 patients are on the waiting list for kidneys from deceased donors in the United States, and many die waiting for an organ to become available. Now that this research has come to light, it should greatly affect the living donor pool, which in turn positively affects kidney recipients.

So add kidney donor to the list of positives about growing old, along with wisdom, maturity, and retirement!