Impact for patients

Case Study

Increasing the number of organs available for transplantation

Cambridge researchers provided evidence that showed that patients receiving kidneys from donors who died from circulatory failure had similar medium- to long-term outcomes to those who had received kidneys from donors who had died from brain death. Previously it was believed that organs from circulatory death donors were inferior to those from brain death patients.

This has enabled clinicians to address the severe shortfall in organs available for transplantation, and now circulatory death kidneys account for one-third of all kidney transplants performed in the UK.

BRC researchers have also introduced the practice of sampling kidneys taken from older donors prior to transplantation, allowing them to be examined under the microscope to assess the health of the organ. This helps clinicians decide whether to use these kidneys, potentially reducing the number unnecessarily discarded. This practice is now being examined in a national trial.