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Organ waiting list policy benefits the wealthy, study charges

Patients who can afford to get on multiple transplant lists more likely to survive

12:16pm, November 10, 2015
heart transplant

HEART OF THE MATTER  Allowing patients to get on waiting lists for organs at multiple centers may exacerbate transplant disparities.

ORLANDO, Fla. — People in line for organ transplants gain an advantage by getting on the waiting lists at multiple centers. But that privilege appears to favor wealthier patients and may be exacerbating existing inequities in organ transplantation, according to data presented November 9 at the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions.

More than 122,000 people in the United States currently need a new heart, lung, kidney or other organ, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing. The nonprofit organization, which manages organ transplantation, allows patients to enroll on waiting lists at more than one center. The idea is that multiple listing helps patients overcome geographic disparities in the availability of organs.

But instead of leveling access, “this is a policy that exacerbates that disparity,” said Raymond Givens,

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