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Opioid epidemic leads to surge in US organ donors, study shows

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k1720 (Published 18 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1720
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London

The US epidemic of drug overdose deaths in recent years has corresponded with a dramatic increase in use of donor organs from this group, a study has shown.

Outcomes in recipients of such organs are not inferior to those in patients who received organs donated after trauma or medical death, said the study report, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.1

The authors noted that concern about increased infection risk behaviours among overdose death donors (ODDs) leads to many organs being discarded. But they said that the use of more of these organs should be considered, including those from donors infected with hepatitis C virus, given the numbers of patients on waiting lists for organs.

The study looked at transplants involving 138 565 deceased …

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