Organ Transplant: Trends
The use of paired kidney exchange, split-liver transplant, and ventricular assist device are some innovations surrounding the US organ transplant. Also, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of organ transplants for people with damaged livers rising from alcoholism since 2013.
TRENDS/INNOVATIONS IN ORGAN TRANSPLANT
PAIRED KIDNEY EXCHANGE
- The use of AI in paired kidney exchange is a technological innovation transforming the US organ transplant, and it's on the rise at multiple hospitals.
- The technology uses algorithms to weigh different criteria, including the recipient's age, the length of time he or she has been on the waiting list, and if the person was once an organ donor, among others, to match patients getting first priority with biologically suited donors.
- This trend has been on the increase since 2002 with about 0.2% of living donations from paired donors to 12% in 2018.
USING INFERIOR ORGANS
- Researchers are inventing new ways to recover and use organs that would normally be rejected.
- Every year, 1,000 donor hearts are discarded due to hepatitis C infection in the US. The advancement in treatment breakthroughs has allowed doctors and researchers to experiment with hepatitis C infected organs for transplantation.
- For example, at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, doctors are using hepatitis c-infected hearts and kidneys for transplant and later giving recipients drugs to clear the disease.
- The use of split-liver transplant, a technique that uses one deceased donor liver for two people, is another innovation surrounding the US organ transplant.
- This technique is made possible since the liver is the only organ able to regenerate and replace damaged tissue with new cells.
- Medical College of Wisconsin is among a few hospitals in the US using this method to transplant liver.
- Nearly 2 percent of liver transplants in the US employ split-liver transplant "because it requires the highest level of expertise and care."
VENTRICULAR ASSIST DEVICE (VAD)
- Some hospitals in the US are using a unique innovation, Ventricular assist device (VAD) that pumps blood from the heart to the body of a transplant recipient waiting for a donor heart to become available.
- The devices can be "used as a bridge to transplant, or, for people who are not good transplant candidates."
- Froedtert Health uses VAD to help prolong the life of its heart failure patients while they are waiting for a heart transplant.
- There's been a rise in 'increased-risk' donor organs in the United States.
- Increased-risk organs are from persons who either injected drugs, had sex for drugs, or were incarcerated.
- Unfortunately, patients in the wait list are rejecting these organs, which account for one in every five deceased donor organs today, despite disease transmission being low. This has lead to "hundreds of available organs going unused each year."
ALCOHOLIC LIVER DISEASE (ALD)
- The number of organ transplants for people with damaged livers as a result of alcoholism has dramatically increased since 2013, representing an increase of 177 per year.
- There were a "stable number of ALD transplants per year" between 2002 and 2012.
- In 2016, ALD became the "leading indication for wait list additions (30%)," with the trend continuing in 2017.
The research team examined medical databases such as NCBI, Science Direct, Journal of Hepatology, Science Daily, and many others to identify six trends and innovations surrounding the US organ transplant. We selected trends that indicate an upward change in the past decade, have more health organizations participating, and recent unique innovations that are expert-backed to be novel.