December 20, 2018
1 min read

Transplant shows better 10-year outcomes than dialysis

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According to the yearly release from the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s organ replacement register, patients who received a transplant due to end-stage kidney disease have better 10-year outcomes than individuals receiving dialysis. Only 16% of Canadian patients on dialysis survive more than 10 years, while 74% of patients who receive transplantation will still have functioning kidneys.

“This year our focus was on patient outcomes, specifically survival. What's new this year is, we've even expanded our survival to do longer term, so 10-year survival,” Michael Terner, of the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), said. “There is the trend that survival actually is increasing over time. It's not a very big increase, but it is nevertheless a slight increase over the years.”

The institute also reported that 51% of patients who start dialysis aged between 18 and 44 years survive more than 10 years. Survival dropped to 12% for patients aged between 65 and 74 years.

Comparatively, CIHI data showed that 80% of Canadian transplant patients aged between 18 and 44 years have a functioning kidney 10 years posttransplant. That number dropped to 64% for patients aged older than 65 years.

“Some of the increases are probably due to technological advances, better medications, better equipment, better matching of organ donors to transplant recipients,” Terner said. “I wouldn't discount the constant process improvements that are being made at transplant programs and dialysis programs in Canada. It tends to be a very focused community, very patient oriented and they're constantly looking to improve their patient care.”

The release revealed that in the last 10 years, the total number of Canadians with ESKD had grown 35%, totaling over 38,800 individuals. Canadian doctors performed 1,771 kidney transplants in 2017. However, by 2018 there were still 3,253 patients waiting for transplant.

Though the CIHI has seen a drop of 11% in living organ donations since 2008, the number of deceased organ donations have risen by 51%. This represents a promising trend for Canadian patients still waiting on transplant lists.