Quantifying donor effects on transplant outcomes using kidney pairs from deceased donors

Kathleen F. Kerr, Eric R. Morenz, Heather Thiessen-Philbrook, Steven G. Coca, F. Perry Wilson, Peter P. Reese, Chirag R. Parikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objectives In kidney transplantation, the relative contribution of donor versus other factors on clinical outcomes is unknown. We sought to quantify overall donor effects on transplant outcomes for kidney donations from deceased donors. Design, setting, participants, & measurements For paired donations from deceased donors resulting in transplants to different recipients, the magnitude of donor effects can be quantified by examining the excess of concordant outcomes within kidney pairs beyond chance concordance. Using data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network between the years 2013 and 2017, we examined concordance measures for delayed graft function, death-censored 1-year graft failure, and death-censored 3-year graft failure. The concordance measures were excess relative risk, excess absolute risk, and the fixation index (where zero is no concordance and one is perfect concordance). We further examined concordance in strata of kidneys with similar values of the Kidney Donor Profile Index, a common metric of organ quality. Results If the transplant of the kidney mate resulted in delayed graft function, risk for delayed graft function was 19% higher (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 18% to 20%), or 1.76-fold higher (95% CI, 1.73-to 1.80-fold), than baseline. If a kidney graft failed within 1 year, then the kidney mate’s risk of failure was 6% higher (95% CI, 4% to 9%), or 2.85-fold higher (95% CI, 2.25-to 3.48-fold), than baseline. For 3-year graft failure, the excess absolute risk was 7% (95% CI, 4% to 10%) but excess relative risk was smaller, 1.91-fold (95% CI, 1.56-to 2.28-fold). Fixation indices were 0.25 for delayed graft function (95% CI, 0.24 to 0.27), 0.07 for 1-year graft failure (95% CI, 0.04 to 0.09), and 0.07 for 3-year graft failure (95% CI, 0.04 to 0.10). Results were similar in strata of kidneys with a similar Kidney Donor Profile Index. Conclusions Overall results indicated that the donor constitution has small or moderate effect on post-transplant clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1781-1787
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 6 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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