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Pretreating Kidney Donors Helps Post-Transplant Function

Last Updated: September 08, 2009.

Administering dopamine to brain-dead kidney donors can significantly improve post-transplant organ function, resulting in the need for less dialysis, according to a study in the Sept. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

TUESDAY, Sept. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Administering dopamine to brain-dead kidney donors can significantly improve post-transplant organ function, resulting in the need for less dialysis, according to a study in the Sept. 9 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Peter Schnuelle, M.D., of University Medical Centre Mannheim in Germany, and colleagues at 60 European centers administered low-dose dopamine (4 µg/kg/min) to brain-dead kidney donors and withheld the treatment from a similar control group of donors. The researchers studied the 487 patients receiving the kidneys to discover if the dopamine treatment improved early function after transplantation. The main outcome measure was the need for dialysis by kidney recipients during the first week after transplantation.

Overall, the researches found that 24.7 percent of the recipients of the dopamine-treated organ grafts required multiple dialyses post-transplant, compared to 35.4 percent in the control group. They also found that the need for multiple dialyses post-transplant was associated with graft failure after three years (hazard ratio, 3.61), while a single dialysis had no association with graft failure (hazard ratio, 0.67).

"In conclusion, this study shows that pretreatment of the deceased heart-beating donor with low-dose dopamine reduces the need for dialysis in the recipient after kidney transplantation," the authors write.

The study was partially supported by a medical school grant from Novartis.

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