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Should Adult Organs Be Used In Pediatric Patients?

Sarah Murnaghan, an 11-year-old with end-stage cystic fibrosis who was at the top of the pediatric organ donor list, took her medical battle to the courtroom to be placed at the top of the adult list so she could receive organs more quickly. After a judge ruled in her favor, she twice underwent a double lung transplant in June; she is now fighting pneumonia in her right lung. “Sound Medicine” host Anne Ryder speaks with Sam Davis, the director of professional services and public affairs at the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization, about adult organ transplants in pediatric patients. According to Davis, adult organs often must be cut to fit a pediatric patient and do not promise an optimal outcome. If the recipient dies, those organs cannot be used again. Overall, Davis says transplant committees should continue to use clinical determinants, such as match, age and changes for survival, to decide which patients, pediatric and adult, receive organs.