Expanding deceased donor kidney transplantation: medical risk, infectious risk, hepatitis C virus, and HIV

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Due to the organ shortage, which prevents over 90 000 individuals in the United States from receiving life-saving transplants, the transplant community has begun to critically reevaluate whether organ sources that were previously considered too risky provide a survival benefit to waitlist candidates.

Recent findings

Organs that many providers were previously unwilling to use for transplantation, including kidneys with a high Kidney Donor Profile Index or from increased risk donors who have risk factors for window period hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV infection, have been shown to provide a survival benefit to transplant waitlist candidates compared with remaining on dialysis. The development of direct-acting antivirals to cure HCV infection has enabled prospective trials on the transplantation of organs from HCV-infected donors into HCV-negative recipients, with promising preliminary results. Changes in legislation through the HIV Organ Policy Equity Act have legalized transplantations from HIV-positive deceased donors to HIV-positive recipients for the first time in the United States.

Summary

Critical reexamination of deceased donor organs that were previously discarded has resulted in greater utilization of these organs, an increased number of deceased donor transplants, and the provision of life-saving treatment to more transplant waitlist candidates.

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