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Potential implications of a more timely living kidney donor evaluation

Habbous S, McArthur E, Sarma S, Begen MA, Lam NN, Manns B, Lentine KL, Dipchand C, Litchfield K, Mackenzie S, Garg AX. Am J Transplant. 2018; 18(11):2719-29. Epub 2018 Mar 25.

Living donor kidney transplantation is the most promising way to avoid or minimize the amount of time a recipient spends on dialysis before transplantation. We studied 887 living kidney donors at five transplant centres in Ontario, Canada who started their evaluation and donated between April 2006 and March 2014. Using a series of hypothetical scenarios, we estimated the impact of an earlier living donor evaluation completion and donation on the number pre-emptive transplants, the time spent on dialysis, healthcare cost savings from averted dialysis costs (CAD $2016), and the number of additional transplants. During the study period, if the donor transplants occurred three months earlier, the healthcare system would save on average $12,055 (standard deviation $13,594) per recipient, 21 recipients could have avoided dialysis altogether, and 57 additional transplants (a 26% increase) could have occurred each year. For the 220 living kidney donor transplants performed in Ontario, Canada each year, this translates to total annual cost savings of $2.7M. In conclusion, a more timely evaluation of living donor candidates and their intended recipients may increase the supply of kidneys for transplantation. Improved evaluation efficiency may also yield more pre-emptive transplants and substantial healthcare cost savings through averted dialysis costs.