The number of Canadians living with kidney failure has tripled in 20 years and thousands of patients are waiting for kidney transplants, researchers say in a report that suggests if transplants were available, $150 million spent on expensive treatments would be saved.
There were nearly 38,000 Canadians living with kidney failure in 2009 -more than triple the number recorded in 1990 -with 3,000 people on a transplant waiting list, according to a study examining organ failure released yesterday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).
If everyone on the wait list was transplanted, about $150 million would be saved each year because of less dialysis treatment expenses, said Claire Marie Fortin, CIHI's manager of clinical registries.
"Dialysis is expensive, there's no denying it," Fortin said.
"It's also onerous on the patient. We always think of dollars and cents when it comes to health care, but there are patients involved and these are people who have to travel far to get their dialysis. A greater supply of organs would be beneficial to the system."
Hemodialysis treatments cost $60,000 a year per patient while a one-time expense for a kidney transplant is only about $23,000, plus an additional $6,000 for medication to maintain the transplant, Fortin said.