American Journal of Kidney Diseases

Center-Level Factors and Racial Disparities in Living Donor Kidney Transplantation

Published:February 27, 2012DOI:


      On average, African Americans attain living donor kidney transplantation (LDKT) at decreased rates compared with their non–African American counterparts. However, center-level variations in this disparity or the role of center-level factors is unknown.

      Study Design

      Observational cohort study.

      Setting & Participants

      247,707 adults registered for first-time kidney transplants from 1995-2007 as reported by the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients.


      Patient-level factors (age, sex, body mass index, insurance status, education, blood type, and panel-reactive antibody level) were adjusted for in all models. The association of center-level characteristics (number of candidates, transplant volume, LDKT volume, median time to transplant, percentage of African American candidates, percentage of prelisted candidates, and percentage of LDKT) and degree of racial disparity in LDKT was quantified.


      Hierarchical multivariate logistic regression models were used to derive center-specific estimates of LDKT attainment in African American versus non–African American candidates.


      Racial parity was not seen at any of the 275 transplant centers in the United States. At centers with the least racial disparity, African Americans had 35% lower odds of receiving LDKT; at centers with the most disparity, African Americans had 76% lower odds. Higher percentages of African American candidates (interaction term, 0.86; P = 0.03) and prelisted candidates (interaction term, 0.80; P = 0.001) at a given center were associated with increased racial disparity at that center. Higher rates of LDKT (interaction term, 1.25; P < 0.001) were associated with less racial disparity.


      Some patient-level factors are not captured, including a given patient's pool of potential donors. Geographic disparities in deceased donor availability might affect LDKT rates. Center-level policies and practices are not captured.


      Racial disparity in attainment of LDKT exists at every transplant center in the country. Centers with higher rates of LDKT attainment for all races had less disparity; these high-performing centers might provide insights into policies that might help address this disparity.

      Index Words

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