ANCHOR LEAD: APRIL IS ORGAN AWARENESS MONTH, AND KIDNEYS ARE STILL IN VERY SHORT SUPPLY. ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Public educations campaigns and media blitzes notwithstanding, the number of people awaiting organ transplants, especially kidneys, remains in the tens of thousands. Robert Montgomery, a kidney transplant surgeon at Johns Hopkins, describes the dficit.
MONTGOMERY: We have a big problem. We currently have about 80,000 people who are waiting for kidney transplant. We’re only about to provide kidneys for about 20% of those people each year, so the average person now waits about five years for a kidney transplant. In another five years that will probably double. So we have this sort of exponential growth in the number of people who need kidneys, part of that is because of our lifestyle and the increased rate of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and we have a fairly stagnant supply. :33
Strategies to pair incompatible kidney donors and recipients such as those developed by Montgomery and colleagues at Johns Hopkins can only satisfy a small percentage of the need. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.