The ravages of the opioid epidemic have created an unforeseen opportunity — an increase in the availability of organs for donation.New research led by investigators at University of Utah Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital shows that an increase in drug-overdose related deaths has boosted the number of organs available for transplantation.As the government invests millions to combat the opioid epidemic, the transplant community does not plan to rely on drug-intoxication deaths as a long-term source of donations.“We must look to new ways to increase organ donor recovery by concentrating on greater use of marginal organs or by expanding the suitable donor pool by using new technologies to improve organ function before the transplant takes place,” Mehra said. H., at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Wida Cherikh, Ph. D., with the United Network for Organ Sharing and Jacqueline Smits, Ph.Recipients of a heart transplant get a new chance at life.It is not uncommon for people to take up a new activity, whether it be running marathons or deciding to be a hipaa lawyer.
The United Network for Organ Sharing policy requires patients are made aware of the circumstances of higher risk donations and can decide whether or not to accept it.
According to , medical director of the Heart Transplant Program at the U of U Health and senior author on the research, the team examinedheart and lung data because these organs are the more sensitive to reduced oxygen supply that may occur during a drug overdose.
They focused on survival in the first year, because these concerns would manifest shortly after the transplant.
The fact that transplant patients who received these organs had similar survival as other transplant patients relieves the concerns of irreversible organ damage from drug overdose death.
“In the unfortunate circumstances where opioid deaths happen, organ donation can extend life of many patients in need of transplant,” said Stehlik.
The research team also examined the Eurotransplant data that tracked transplantation in eight European countries during the same period.