Medical tourism risky, study shows

October 15, 2008 2:08:57 PM PDT
Medical tourism is becoming is becoming popular in this country, but now there's proof some patients are putting their health at risk. They're traveling for everything from cosmetic surgery to heart bypass operations. But a new study on kidney transplants raises red flags about the safety of medical tourism.

Researchers from UCLA compared 33 patients who went to other countries to receive kidney transplants to 66 patients treated in the United States. They found that 30 percent of medical tourists had kidney rejection compared with 12 percent of those treated at UCLA.

Also, patients receiving foreign kidneys had a higher rate of complications.

The study is in the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.

It also found 27 percent of medical tourism patients were hospitalized for infection compared to 9 percent of those treated in the U.S.