(RxWiki News) A transplant is a kidney failure patient's best chance at living a long life. Sadly, there are not enough kidneys to go around, even with living kidney donation. Transplant costs may play a role in this shortage.
Living kidney donors and patients receiving the transplant make about the same amount of money each year, according to a large study on living donor transplants.
The modest incomes of both donors and transplant patients may mean that neither party can afford the costs of transplant.
"Consider becoming an organ donor."
There are many barriers to kidney donation. However, according to John S. Gill, MD, of the University of British Columbia, and colleagues, these barriers are poorly understood.
As the costs of transplant may be one of these barriers, Dr. Gill and colleagues set out to study the incomes of living kidney donors and transplant patients.
They found that the household income of donors was about $46,334. The income of recipients was about $46,439.
In 76 percent of donors, the costs of transplant used up at least one month's income.
In 90 percent of transplants, the income difference between donors and patients was less than $40,000.
According to the study's authors, these findings suggest that many donors may not be able to fully handle the costs of donation. Similarly, transplant patients may not be able to repay their donors.
Because donors and patients make a similar amount of money, it is likely that any payments between the two parties will be small.
"We conclude that most donors and recipients have similar modest incomes, suggesting that the costs of donation are a significant burden in the majority of living donor transplants," the authors said.
For their research, Dr. Gill and colleagues looked at the incomes and income differences of donors and recipients in 54,483 living donor kidney transplants.
The research was published August 6 in the American Journal of Transplantation.