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Ask yourself: 'If I needed a kidney, how much risk would I be willing to take?'

March 25, 2010 |  6:30 pm

Kidney For a person already in need of a kidney transplant, a willingness to accept infection risk can come down to the amount of the infection risk, in this case as it pertains to HIV, the age of the donor -- and how long the patient has been waiting.

The waiting is hard.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania asked 175 kidney transplant candidates about their willingness to accept a kidney from a donor who might be at higher risk of viral infection. Most (58.9%) would accept at least some risk.

The results may not surprise. But they're a sobering reflection of a crucial need. And they're worth thinking about: How much risk would you accept? The answer for those not on the wait list may depend on whether they know someone on the wait list.

Here's ...

  •  the study, as it will appear in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
  •  statistics from the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse on kidney and urologic diseases.
  •  a recent L.A. Times article about the long-term health of people who donate kidneys (at least as good, if not better, than people who don't donate kidneys)
  •  and information from the National Kidney Foundation on how to become a living donor.

-- Tami Dennis

Illustration credit: Jon Conrad / For The Times