THURSDAY, June 24, 2021 (HealthDay News) — A family voucher program facilitates living kidney donations, according to a study published online June 23 in JAMA Surgery.

Jeffrey L. Veale, M.D., from the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the consequences of voucher-based kidney donation and the capability of voucher redemptions to provide timely kidney allografts in a multicenter study of 79 transplant centers across the United States. A voucher was provided to the intended recipient at the time of donation; a living donation chain was used to return a kidney to the voucher holder when a voucher was redeemed.

Two hundred fifty family voucher-based donations were facilitated between 2014 and 2021. Each donation precipitated a transplant chain with a mean of 2.3 downstream kidney transplants, facilitating a total of 573 transplants; 19.4 percent were performed in highly sensitized recipients. The researchers found that the median age of the voucher donors was 46 years and 62.8 percent were female. The waiting time for those in the National Kidney Registry exchange pool decreased by more than three months during the seven-year period. Six vouchers were redeemed; three of these vouchers occurred among individuals with blood type O. There was variation in the time from voucher redemption to kidney transplant, from 36 to 155 days.

“The results of this study indicate that the family voucher program helped to remove a major disincentive for candidates considering living kidney donation,” the authors write.

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