Organs from drug overdoses could help transplant shortage

Organs from drug overdoses could help transplant shortage

Three years ago, the healthy father celebrated his wedding anniversary.

Fatal drug overdoses are increasing organ donations and researchers reported Monday that people who receive those transplants generally fare as well as patients given organs from more traditional donors.

A severe E. coli infection left him in organ failure.

Organ donations are up significantly and helping to save lives.

It took weeks for MA doctors to stabilize him, but he desperately needed a liver transplant. They also found that overdose-related organs were more likely to be considered at "increased risk" of infectious diseases such as HIV or hepatitis C, but said with improved testing the overall risk for transplant candidates is low. Still, those deaths now account for about 13 percent of the nation's deceased organ donors, up from 1 percent in 2000, the researchers calculated.

"This is not an ideal or sustainable solution to the organ shortage", Dr. Christine Durand, the study's lead researcher, cautioned in the published report. The study, which was published by Johns Hopkins University researchers in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggests that organ donations of this nature should be optimized, as it could help lessen the wait time for 115,000 transplant patients now on the national waiting list.

But with almost 115,000 people on the national waiting list for a transplant, the Johns Hopkins team concluded that use of organs from overdoses "should be optimized" because many transplant candidates would otherwise die waiting for another donor.

That donor turned out to be a 21-year-old man who died of a heroin overdose.

"It's a lifesaving legacy out of a pretty horrific public health scenario", Glazier said.

The researchers noted that in 2016 there were 3,533 transplants involving overdose-related donors, compared to 149 conducted in 2000. Standardized five-year patient survival was similar for ODD organ recipients and TDD and MDD recipients.

The findings could encourage more use of organs from overdose victims.

"That's really been a total game changer in terms of opening up the potential for donation in these cases", Glazier said.

Hatem Tolba cherishes every single day with his family.

"My objective is to take this young man's legacy forward", he said, "to be the best husband and father that I can possibly be".