In the United States, patients with end-stage renal disease have 2 treatment
options: dialysis or a kidney transplant. Those choosing a transplant have
2 donor choices: a living donor or a deceased donor.
Considerable information has been accumulated to help guide patient
choices. Compared with dialysis, a transplant leads to a longer life,1 enhances quality of life,2 and
is cost-effective for the health care system.3 Moreover,
a living donor transplant (either related or unrelated) leads to better outcomes
(patient and graft survival) than a deceased donor transplant.4 Thus,
for patients with end-stage renal disease who are medically eligible for a
transplant, the best treatment choice is a living donor transplant. In the
last 2 decades, it has been recognized that unrelated living donor transplants
have results equivalent to related living donor transplants. In 2004, unrelated
living donor transplants accounted for more than 34% of living donor transplants
performed in the United States.5
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