Racial Equity in Living Donor Kidney Transplant Centers, 2008-2018

Lisa M. McElroy, Tyler Schappe, Dinushika Mohottige, LaShara A. Davis, Sarah Peskoe, Virginia Wang, Jane Pendergast, L. Ebony Boulware

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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IMPORTANCE: It is unclear whether center-level factors are associated with racial equity in living donor kidney transplant (LDKT).

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate center-level factors and racial equity in LDKT during an 11-year time period.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A retrospective cohort longitudinal study was completed in February 2023, of US transplant centers with at least 12 annual LDKTs from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2018, identified in the Health Resources Services Administration database and linked to the US Renal Data System and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Observed and model-based estimated Black-White mean LDKT rate ratios (RRs), where an RR of 1 indicates racial equity and values less than 1 indicate a lower rate of LDKT of Black patients compared with White patients. Estimated yearly best-case center-specific LDKT RRs between Black and White individuals, where modifiable center characteristics were set to values that would facilitate access to LDKT.

RESULTS: The final cohorts of patients included 394 625 waitlisted adults, of whom 33.1% were Black and 66.9% were White, and 57 222 adult LDKT recipients, of whom 14.1% were Black and 85.9% were White. Among 89 transplant centers, estimated yearly center-level RRs between Black and White individuals accounting for center and population characteristics ranged from 0.0557 in 2008 to 0.771 in 2018. The yearly median RRs ranged from 0.216 in 2016 to 0.285 in 2010. Model-based estimations for the hypothetical best-case scenario resulted in little change in the minimum RR (from 0.0557 to 0.0549), but a greater positive shift in the maximum RR from 0.771 to 0.895. Relative to the observed 582 LDKT in Black patients and 3837 in White patients, the 2018 hypothetical model estimated an increase of 423 (a 72.7% increase) LDKTs for Black patients and of 1838 (a 47.9% increase) LDKTs for White patients.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this cohort study of patients with kidney failure, no substantial improvement occurred over time either in the observed or the covariate-adjusted estimated RRs. Under the best-case hypothetical estimations, modifying centers' participation in the paired exchange and voucher programs and increased access to public insurance may contribute to improved racial equity in LDKT. Additional work is needed to identify center-level and program-specific strategies to improve racial equity in access to LDKT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e2347826
JournalJAMA Network Open
Issue number12
Early online dateDec 1 2023
StatePublished - Dec 15 2023


  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Living Donors
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Retrospective Studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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