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Educational guidance recommends early patient referral for kidney transplantation

Published on: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Kidney transplantation is the treatment of choice for patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end stage renal disease (ESRD). However, many patients and their providers lack education and understanding about transplantation," according to new educational guidance created by the OPTN/UNOS Minority Affairs Committee, working with several other committees and professional societies. The committee reviewed transplant center acceptance criteria and conducted research to debunk common myths about patients who are suitable for a transplant. The guidance also lists common barriers to timely referral. The goal of the guidance is to educate providers and patients with kidney disease about transplantation as a treatment option. Learn more.

One of the biggest misconceptions, according to the findings, is that a patient must already be on dialysis before they can be referred for a transplant evaluation. While this process can take several months to complete, and time on the waiting list can span years for kidney patients, the committee document encourages providers and patients to consider transplantation before CKD gets to the most advanced stage. Delayed referrals are known to occur with ethnic minorities, patients with lower socioeconomic status, and geographically disadvantaged patients, the committee notes. The document makes recommendations to overcome this and other barriers, answers common questions and provides resources.

Access educational resources about the new kidney allocation system, including a recorded webinar for referring physicians.