Dialysis patients waiting for a deceased donor kidney transplant face a declining likelihood of receiving one, according to a recent study.

The study, by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee led by Hariprasad Trivedi, MD, examined data from 70,891 patients receiving dialysis and who were waitlisted for their first deceased donor renal transplant between January 1996 and December 2005. Patients waitlisted in 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004 were, respectively, 15%, 27%, 37%, and 42% less likely than patients waitlisted in 1996 to receive a kidney within 12 months, researchers reported in The American Journal of Medicine.

“It is apparent that current efforts are not enough and creative strategies are needed to improve transplantation rates,” the authors wrote. “These should include enhancing organ donation from both living and deceased donors. Increased effort to enhance public education that might result in increasing deceased donor donation is an important consideration.”

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Investigators also observed that certain subgroups receiving long-term dialysis have a greater likelihood of dying before receiving a kidney transplant. These include the elderly and blacks and those with diabetic end-stage renal disease. In addition, although the transplantation ratio is nearly equal for male and female patients, women have a higher death ratio than men. “As a result, women are disadvantaged such that the chance of dying before receiving the benefit of a transplant is greater compared with men,” the researchers observed.