Patients who seek kidneys overseas face a much higher risk of death and failed grafts, an Australian study claims. Paying organ donors is illegal in Australia even though the there is a severe shortage. Consequently a few people with end-stage kidney disease shop for their organs in Iran, Iraq, South America, Eastern Europe, South Africa and the Philippines. The survival rate of patients from these operations appears to be between 80% and 90%, compared to 95% for Australian transplants. The difference grows with time. Only 60% of overseas patients survive for five years, while 82% or more survive if the operation is performed in Australia. Infection is a serious problem. The authors of the study in the Medical Journal of Australia said that “the screening procedures of commercial transplant programs are not evident”, even though there is a high rate of HIV and hepatitis C infection in these regions.
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