UC San Diego Study finds people with failing kidneys could benefit from treatment rather than removal of the organ

LA JOLLA – People with failing kidneys who are most likely to benefit from surgery aimed at preserving at least part of the blood-filtering organ are more likely to have a kidney removed, UC San Diego medical school researchers announced today.

”While the overall proportion of patients receiving kidney preserving treatments for localized kidney tumors continues to grow, the most significant, and perhaps unsettling finding was that patients with kidney insufficiency still undergo complete kidney removal — even though kidney preserving treatment may be indicated,” said Dr. Ithaar Derweesh, a urologic oncologist at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center who led a study on the subject.

Derweesh said more study was needed to confirm his findings. He said he also wanted to look at factors in patient and physician selection.

Researchers used data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, the largest database of all annual hospital admissions including some 444,850 procedures.

The researchers found increasing numbers of partial and complete kidney removal and increasing use of energy-based therapies for treating tumors.

Over a 10-year period, researchers found progressive decline in kidney function in patients with chronic kidney failure, or insufficiency, and were nearly twice as likely to have a kidney completely removed than to undergo a procedure in which the organ would be saved.

The study findings are published online in the Journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons.

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