The Geography of Kidney Transplantation in the United States

Am J Transplant. 2008 Mar;8(3):647-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2007.02130.x.


The distance kidney transplant patients live from the centers where they undergo transplantation could affect long-term care and outcomes, but little is known about this distance and its associations. We used data from the United States Renal Data System to examine distance between home and transplant center for 92 224 adults undergoing kidney transplantation in 1995-2003. The 5th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 95th percentiles for distances were 2.4, 8.4, 23.0, 67.3 and 213.7 miles, respectively. Compared to whites (median distance 28.5 miles), African Americans (11.5 miles) and Asians (13.5 miles) lived closer to their centers, while Native Americans lived farther away (90.1 miles). Hispanics lived closer (14.7 miles) than non-Hispanics (24.3 miles). Even after adjusting for center density, we found substantial regional variability, with median distance of 15.1 miles for patients living in the Northeast and 40.6 miles for those in the Southeast. Distance was also associated with center size, median zip code income, listing on more than one deceased-donor waiting list and other factors, but greater distance (adjusted for these other factors) was not associated with worse patient or graft survival. The substantial variability in geographical access to kidney transplantation could have important implications for long-term care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ethnic Groups
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States / ethnology