Background: The U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network recently implemented a policy allocating expanded criteria donor (ECD) kidneys by waiting time alone. ECD kidneys were defined as having a risk of graft failure > or = 1.7 times that of ideal donors. ECDs include any donor > or = 60 years old and donors 50 to 59 years old with at least two of the following: terminal creatinine >1.5 mg/dL, history of hypertension, or death by cerebrovascular accident. The impact of this policy on use of ECD kidneys is assessed.
Methods: The authors compared use of ECD kidneys recovered in the 18 months immediately before and after policy implementation. Differences were tested using t test and chi2 analyses.
Results: There was an 18.3% increase in ECD kidney recoveries and a 15.0% increase in ECD kidney transplants in the first 18 months after policy implementation. ECD kidneys made up 22.1% of all recovered kidneys and 16.8% of all transplants, compared with 18.8% (P<0.001) and 14.5% (P<0.001), respectively, in the prior period. The discard rate was unchanged. The median relative risk (RR) for graft failure for transplanted ECD kidneys was 2.07 versus 1.99 in the prepolicy period (P=not significant); the median RR for procured ECD kidneys was unchanged at 2.16. The percentage of transplanted ECD kidneys with cold ischemia times (CIT) <12 hr increased significantly; the corresponding percentage for CIT > or = 24 hr decreased significantly.
Conclusions: The recent increase in ECD kidney recoveries and transplants appears to be related to implementation of the ECD allocation system.