Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

National Network Allows More Successful Kidney Transplants

WebMD Health News

Oct. 11, 2000 -- Time is life when it comes to transplanting a kidney. The sooner someone who needs a kidney gets one, the longer he or she is likely to live afterward. And the sooner a donated kidney is transplanted, the better its chances for lasting and functioning well in its new owner. That's why many doctors think it's best to give kidneys to patients who are in the same geographical area as the donor, instead of shipping them around the country.

But a new study published in TheNew England Journal of Medicine shows that matching the donated kidney to the recipient's body is equally important. Most kidney transplants fail because of rejection, when the recipient's immune system attacks the new kidney because it recognizes it as being foreign. When proteins found on the surface of the donor kidney, called HLA markers, closely match those of the recipient's own tissues, the kidney is less likely to be rejected.

In October 1987, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) established a national kidney-sharing program, hoping to increase the number of HLA-matched transplants by seeking good matches through a nationwide pool.

"When a donor kidney becomes available, we report the HLA [markers] to the central computer in Richmond, Va. Everyone in the U.S. waiting for a kidney is on that list, so the computer can quickly find the best possible match for the kidney," researcher J. Michael Cecka, PhD, a professor of pathology at University of California, Los Angeles, tells WebMD.

Cecka's study analyzed more than 7,000 HLA-matched and 80,000 HLA-mismatched kidney transplants, in which the kidneys came from people who had agreed to donate their organs when they died. More than half of the matched transplants done through the UNOS program lasted for 10 years, compared with about a third of the mismatched transplants. The matched transplants not only lasted longer but were less likely to be rejected.

Even though matched kidneys had to be shipped to the donor, the transplants took place in 23 hours, on average -- only one hour longer than for those in which kidneys were given to HLA-mismatched local recipients.

1 | 2 | 3

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing