The survival rates of kidneys purchased and transplanted abroad by patients waiting for an organ are significantly lower than those who receive one from a related donor. Photo by Kzenon/Shutterstock
SAN DIEGO, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Travelling to another country for a kidney transplant from a living donor carries significant risks, according to a study of patient travel for the procedure.
The study, presented at Kidney Week 2015, the annual conference of the American Society of Nephrologists, found patients who purchased kidneys from living donors abroad faced higher risk of rejection of organs and of not surviving the procedure, according to press release.
The study, an abstract for which was published by ASN for the conference, compared the health outcomes for 270 commercial transplant patients with 123 recipients of living related donor transplants who had follow-up care for a transplant at a medical center in Bahrain.
Researchers found that one- and 10-year survival rates for organs received by commercial recipients versus related donors was 91 percent and 22 percent versus 98 percent and 44 percent. Survival rates for each of the patients produced similar results, with commercial recipients surviving a year 96 percent of the time and 10 years 70 percent of the time. That compares with 98 percent of related donor recipients surviving a year and 78 percent living for another decade.
Compared to the control group, transplant patients traveling to buy an organ were more likely to develop hepatitis B, hepatitis C and cyomegalovirus in addition to higher rates of organ rejection or other surgical complication. The most popular countries patients traveled to for surgery were the Philippines, India and Pakistan.
Of the 122,403 people on organ transplant lists in the United States, 101,189 are waiting for kidneys, with the median wait time for a patient's first kidney transplant at 3.6 years depending on health, compatibility and availability. More than 3,000 people a day are added to the waiting list, according to the National Kidney Foundation.