News Release
  January 16, 2014

CONTACT:

Jessica Mikulski

215-349-8369
jessica.mikulski@uphs.upenn.edu

Perelman School of Medicine


This release is available online at
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2014/01/reese/

Penn, CHOP Study Reveals Geography Plays a Major Role in Access to Pediatric Kidney Transplantation in the U.S.

PHILADELPHIA — A new study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has revealed large geographic variation in waiting times for children across the United States in need of kidney transplants, with differences due mainly to local supply and demand. The findings, which will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN), suggest that broader geographic sharing of kidneys for children should be considered.

Kidneys are distributed to transplant recipients first locally within nearby geographic areas, then regionally and nationally based on a pre-defined allocation system. Although children receive priority for kidneys from deceased donors who are less than 35 years of age, there are several categories of candidates that supersede children on the waiting list.

Sandra Amaral, MD, MHS, assistant professor of Pediatrics and Epidemiology at Penn and CHOP and Peter Reese, MD , MSCE, assistant professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Penn,  led a team that examined whether local organ supply influences waiting times for children. They also sought to examine whether the allocation of organs to other higher priority candidates impacts waiting times for children on the deceased donor kidney waiting list.

The researchers found that there is substantial and very concerning geographic variation in deceased donor kidney waiting times for children across the United States, with median waiting time ranging from as little as two weeks to as long as three years. In some cases, donor service areas with very long pediatric waiting times are right next to donor service areas with very short pediatric waiting times.

The investigators did not find that differences in waiting times were driven by the distribution of organs to other higher priority candidates. Waiting times for children were, however, affected by the local supply of high quality organs.

Dr. Amaral’s research is supported by a career development award from the NIDDK (K23 DK083529).

Additional study authors from Penn include Hojun Hwang, Vishnu Potluri, MBBS, MPH, Peter L. Abt, MD, and Justine Shults, PhD.

For more information, please see the JASN news release JASN news release.

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Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.