According to current statistics, close upon a quarter of a million patients afflicted with a range of disorders are being restored to active life thanks to the science and art of organ transplantation. But on the other side of the coin, we see quite a range of problems of moral, legal and social nature. Perhaps the most acute of them, encountered in allotransplantation - the transplantation of donor organs and tissues - is a shortage of "donor material". This shortage is the main reason why doctors resort to transplantations of kidneys, the heart or the liver only as the last resort when the potential of drug therapy or conventional surgery has been exhausted and the patient is practically doomed.
Another look at the current statistics will tell us that in the leading economically advanced countries no less than 150 thousand people are now on the waiting list for organ and tissue transplants from donors. As for the world demand, the figures are really staggering and have been doubled since 1988 with the annual growth rate of no less than 15 percent. Only 5 to 6 percent of this demand is met and only for people under 65 years of age.
Another, and no less important limiting factor, comes from the staggering expenses involved. In the United States, for example, a kidney transplant costs close to 90 thousand dollars. Add to that the mean annual spendings of some 7 thousand dollars on drugs which a transplant patient must take for the rest of his or her life in order to prevent transplant rejection. In Russia now a kidney transplant operation costs no less than 250 thousand rubles and that does not include the money one has to pay for the very expensive imported medical drugs. In the face of this grim reality the bulk of kidney transplants here rely on the financial backing of our medical authorities besaddled with budget problems of their own. Needless to say, there has been a marked drop in the numbers of kidney transplants in this country in recent years.
And as wi ... Читать далее