When perfectly HLA-matched kidneys are refused for transplant: Implications for a national cooperative sharing system

Mary D. Ellison, Timothy J. Breen, Darcy B. Davies, Erick B. Edwards, Richard J. Mahoney, Otis P. Daily, Douglas J. Norman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The transplant community attempts to maximize overall renal graft survival rates through nationwide sharing of perfectly-matched cadaveric kidneys. Although the number of such transplants is determined annually, the number available but not transplanted has never been assessed. There has also been no verification of the widespread claim that kidneys transplanted as paybacks for perfect matches are inferior. STUDY DESIGN: From records of the United Network for Organ Sharing, a complete accounting of six-antigen-matched kidney disposition was obtained, including a frequency distribution of reasons for refusal given when kidneys were refused for matched patients. Actuarial graft survival (GS) rates for matched, payback, and other cadaveric renal transplants were determined. RESULTS: Of the six- antigen-matched kidneys available, 97 percent were transplanted; 71 percent of those were accepted for matched patients. The two-year GS rate for matched patients was 84 percent, significantly higher than that for kidneys available for matched patients but transplanted into other patients (71.3 percent) and that for all other cadaveric kidneys (75.5 percent). Most reasons for refusal were related to donor quality. Kidneys refused for such reasons showed a 67.7 percent two-year GS rate in nonmatched patients and the highest rates of acute and chronic rejection and primary failure. The two-year GS rate for kidneys accepted as paybacks for matched kidneys (75.7 percent) was equivalent to that for all nonmatched cadaveric kidneys (75.5 percent). CONCLUSIONS: If all normal-quality grafts refused for perfectly matched patients during 1990 through 1992 had been accepted for those patients, the number of transplants with typically superior survival rates could have increased by 25 percent, from 1,365 to 1,704. The payback requirement of the United Network for Organ Sharing does not seem to reduce the overall benefits of sharing perfectly matched kidneys nationwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-440
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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