Estimating the risks of acquiring a kidney abroad: a meta-analysis of complications following participation in transplant tourism

Clinical Transplantation, 2012; 26(3):E232-E241

Ashley E. Anker and Thomas H. Feeley

A meta-analysis of odds ratios comparing the risks of participating in transplant tourism by acquiring a kidney abroad to the risks associated with domestic kidney transplant was undertaken. Comparison across 12 medical outcomes indicates transplant tourists are significantly more likely to contract cytomegalovirus, hepatitis B, HIV, post-transplantation diabetes mellitus, and wound infection than those receiving domestic kidney transplant. Results also indicate that domestic kidney transplant recipients experience significantly higher one-yr patient- and graft-survival rates. Analyses are supplemented by independent comparisons of outcomes and provide practitioners with weighted estimates of the proportion of transplant recipients experiencing 15 medical outcomes. Practitioners are encouraged to caution patients of the medical risks associated with transplant tourism. Despite the illegal and unethical nature of transplant tourism, additional efforts are indicated to eliminate the organ trade and to educate wait-listed patients about the risks of transplant tourism.

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