Medical algorithms that correct for gender, age, comorbidities, and race span specialties from nephrology to cardiology to pediatrics to obstetrics. Such calculators help guide practitioners in daily decisions about everything from drug dosages to surgery to organ transplants. But race modifiers especially raise problems, since race is often an imprecise proxy for actual ancestry.
On Friday, January 7 2022, David Bennett became the world’s first person to successfully receive a transplant of a pig’s heart. The eight-hour-long operation by surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, USA, was no doubt arduous. But it was a short final step in a 60-year-long journey to genetically alter the pig’s heart so that it would not be immediately rejected – a journey that began with a plane crash in Oxford in the summer of 1940.
A growing numbers of transplant programs have chosen to either bar patients who refuse to take the widely available covid vaccines from receiving transplants, or give them lower priority on crowded organ waitlists.
In a nation where nearly 113,000 people are waiting for transplants, scores of organs — mostly kidneys — are discarded after they don’t reach their destination in time.
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Medicare has covered transplant patients who had end-stage renal disease. But coverage ends after 36 months for those younger than 65.
African American, Latinx and Native American patients often wait longer for life-saving transplants – or never receive one at all because of barriers to care.
One reason for the shift, researchers said, is that hepatitis C, which used to be the leading cause of liver transplants, has become easier to treat with drugs.
Virtually all transplant centers require patients to verify how they will pay bills that can total $400,000 for a kidney transplant or $1.3 million for a heart.
Hospitals are using dramatic TV spots to attract lucrative patients into their hospitals as health care costs and industry competition escalate.
The rules, said to be proposed to reduce “burdensome” regulations, would no longer penalize hospitals if too many of their patients die following transplants.
New drugs that promise a cure for the 3.5 million Americans with chronic hepatitis also are benefiting another category of patients: those awaiting life-saving organ transplants.