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Dopamine primes kidneys for a new host

Transplant patients may fare better if brain-dead organ donors receive an infusion of the compound before surgery

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4:20pm, September 8, 2009

Giving dopamine infusions to brain-dead organ donors while they still have a heartbeat seems to fortify their kidneys against the rigors of transplant, a new study shows. Patients receiving a kidney from such donors are less likely to require multiple sessions of blood-cleansing dialysis immediately after the transplant operation, researchers report in the Sept. 9 Journal of the American Medical Association.

What’s more, treating a donor with dopamine seems to prevent some of the damage to kidneys that happens while the organs wait to be transplanted, the scientists find.

Brain-dead donors supply the majority of kidneys for transplant. Such donors often have suffered trauma or brain hemorrhage and have no chance of regaining brain function.

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