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Duration of living kidney transplant donor evaluations: findings from 2 multicenter cohort studies

Habbous S, Arnold J, Begen MA, Boudville N, Cooper M, Dipchand C, Dixon SN, Feldman LS, Goździk D, Karpinski M, Klarenbach S, Knoll GA, Lam NN, Lentine KL, Lok C, McArthur E, McKenzie S, Miller M, Monroy-Cuadros M, Nguan C, Prasad GVR, Przech S, Sarma S, Segev DL, Storsley L, Garg AX; Donor Nephrectomy Outcomes Research (DONOR) Network. Am J Kidney Dis. 2018; 72(4):483-98. Epub 2018 Mar 26.


Background — A prolonged living kidney donor evaluation may result in worse outcomes for transplant recipients. Better knowledge of the duration of this process may help inform future donors and identify opportunities for improvement.

Study Design — 1 prospective and 1 retrospective cohort study.

Setting and Participants — At 16 Canadian and Australian transplantation centers (prospective cohort) and 5 Ontario transplantation centers (retrospective cohort), we assessed the duration of living kidney donor evaluation and explored donor, recipient, and transplantation factors associated with longer evaluation times. Data were obtained from 2 sources: donor medical records using chart abstraction and health care administrative databases.

Predictors — Donor and recipient demographics, direct versus paired donation, center-level variables.

Outcomes — Duration of living donor evaluation.

Results — The median total duration of transplantation evaluation (time from when the candidate started the evaluation until donation) was 10.3 (IQR, 6.5-16.7) months. The median duration from evaluation start until approval to donate was 7.9 (IQR, 4.6-14.1) months, and from approval until donation was 0.7 (IQR, 0.3-2.4) months, respectively. The median time between the first and last consultation among donors who completed a nephrology, surgery, and psychosocial assessment in the prospective cohort was 3.0 (IQR, 1.0-6.3) months, and between computed tomography angiography and donation was 4.8 (IQR, 2.6-9.2) months. After adjustment, the total duration of transplantation evaluation was longer if the donor participated in paired donation (6.6 [95% CI, 1.6-9.7] months) and if the recipient was referred later relative to the donor’s evaluation start date (0.9 [95% CI, 0.8-1.0] months [per month of delayed referral]). Results depended on whether the recipient was receiving dialysis.

Limitations — Living donor candidates who did not donate were not included and proxy measures were used for some dates in the donor evaluation process.

Conclusions — The duration of kidney transplant donor evaluation is variable and can be lengthy. Better understanding of the reasons for a prolonged evaluation may inform quality improvement initiatives to reduce unnecessary delays.

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