Linguistic isolation and access to the active kidney transplant waiting list in the United States

Efrain Talamantes, Keith C. Norris, Carol M. Mangione, Gerardo Moreno, Amy D. Waterman, John D. Peipert, Suphamai Bunnapradist, Edmund Huang

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    24 Scopus citations


    Background and objectives Waitlist inactivity is a barrier to transplantation, because inactive candidates cannot receive deceased donor organ offers. We hypothesized that temporarily inactive kidney transplant candidates living in linguistically isolated communities would be less likely to achieve active waitlist status. Design, setting, participants, & measurements We merged Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network/ United Network for Organ Sharing data with five-digit zip code socioeconomic data from the 2000 US Census. The cumulative incidence of conversion to active waitlist status, death, and delisting before conversion among 84,783 temporarily inactive adult kidney candidates from 2004 to 2012 was determined using competing risks methods. Competing risks regression was performed to characterize the association between linguistic isolation, incomplete transplantation evaluation, and conversion to active status. A household was determined to be linguistically isolated if all members ≥14 years old speak a non-English language and also, speak English less than very well. ResultsA total of 59,147 candidates (70% of the studypopulation) achieved active status over the studyperiod of 9.8 years. Median follow-up was 110 days (interquartile range, 42–276 days) for activated patients and 815 days (interquartile range, 361–1244 days) for candidates not activated. The cumulative incidence of activation over the studyperiod was 74%, the cumulative incidence of death before conversion was 10%, and the cumulative incidence of delisting was 13%. After adjusting for other relevant covariates, living in a zip code with higher percentages of linguistically isolated households was associated with progressively lower subhazards of activation both in the overall population (reference: <1% linguistically isolated households; 1%–4.9% linguistically isolated: subhazard ratio, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.86 to 0.93; 5%–9.9% linguistically isolated: subhazard ratio, 0.83; 95% confidence interval, 0.80 to 0.87; 10%–19.9% linguistically isolated: subhazard ratio, 0.76; 95% confidence interval, 0.72 to 0.80; and ≥20% linguistically isolated: subhazard ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.67 to 0.76) and among candidates designated temporarily inactive due to an incomplete transplant evaluation. Conclusions Our findings indicate that candidates residing in linguistically isolated communities are less likely to complete candidate evaluations and achieve active waitlist status.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)483-492
    Number of pages10
    JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2017


    • Ethnicity
    • Kidney transplantation
    • Language
    • Race
    • Waitlist

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Epidemiology
    • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
    • Nephrology
    • Transplantation


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