Who gets the best kidney? The debate is on - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Who gets the best kidney? The debate is on

By Annette Falconer –bio|email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - A 20-year-old kidney versus a 60-year-old kidney could mean a big difference to a transplant patient of any age. However, the best and healthiest kidney might not be up for grabs to everyone, younger patients may get the advantage over older patients.  

The nation's Organ-Transplant Network is debating whether or not to give younger healthier people, the younger and healthier kidneys.

"There's a move in this country to change that system to try to provide more benefit to younger patients and the problem with that is the disadvantage to our older patients," says ETMC Kidney Transplant Surgeon, Steven Potter.

Potter says, "Sometimes an older person will be offered a kidney from a very young, deceased owner, and there's a feeling that if that kidney from a very young person goes to a young person that needs it, they'll get more benefit out of that kidney."

But that doesn't make an older kidney recipient, like Clyde Weaver of Whitehouse, feel too hopeful.

"I'm on the other side of the deal so I would be for whoever is most deserving at the time, not necessarily who is the youngest," says Weaver.

 Luckily, there is another option. Clyde Weaver got his kidney from a personal donor...his daughter.

"I have a 32 year old kidney to keep up with now, but it's good it's fun," Weaver said.

In some cases in the system we have now, younger patients can receive older or less healthy kidneys.  This may cause those patients to get back on the transplant list just a few years later.

Copyright 2011 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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