Patients who received kidneys from deceased donors considered to be at high risk for transmission of infectious disease fared well more than 2 years after transplant, researchers reported here.

In a single-center study, 87 percent of transplanted patients whose donor kidneys were considered high-risk had good kidney function and no trace of infection over nearly 2.5 years of follow-up, Moya Gallagher, RN, of Columbia University Medical Center, and colleagues reported at Kidney Week here.

Using these organs offers "an opportunity for shortening wait times ... while providing good outcomes and an extremely low level of risk for transmission of infections," Gallagher said in a statement.

She noted that for most deceased organ donors, their medical history is obtained second or third hand and may not be reliable.

"Therefore," she said, "we believe that the current dichotomized classification is misleading and does a disservice to those patients on the waiting list."

Roslyn Mannon, MD, of the Comprehensive Transplant Institute at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who was not involved in the study, called it an “excellent abstract,” noting that “patients die daily on the kidney list, waiting for a deceased [donor’s] organ.”

“With the limited availability of organs for the waiting list population, we cannot be discarding kidneys without a good reason,” Mannon told MedPage Today in an email.

About 10 percent of deceased donor kidneys are classified as high-risk for infection with HIV or with hepatitis B or C (HBV or HCV) based on CDC criteria. But technology has improved and the researchers said it's unlikely that infection would not be detected by modern nucleic acid testing for these diseases.

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