The quality of the deceased donor organ clearly is one of the most crucial factors in determining graft survival and function in recipients of a kidney transplant. There has been considerable effort made towards evaluating these organs culminating in an amendment to allocation policy with the introduction of the expanded criteria donor (ECD) policy. Our study, from first solitary adult deceased donor transplant recipients from 1996 to 2002 in the National Scientific Transplant Registry database, presents a donor kidney risk grade based on significant donor characteristics, donor-recipient matches and cold ischemia time, generated directly from their risk for graft loss. We investigated the impact of our donor risk grade in a naive cohort on short- and long-term graft survival, as well as in subgroups of the population. The projected half-lives for overall graft survival in recipients by donor risk grade were I (10.7 years), II (10.0 years), III (7.9 years), IV (5.7 years) and V (4.5 years). This study indicates that there is great variability in the quality of deceased donor kidneys and that the assessment of risk might be enhanced by this scoring system as compared to the simple two-tiered system of the current ECD classification.