The impact of race on organ donation rates in Southern California

J Am Coll Surg. 2010 Nov;211(5):596-600. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2010.06.390. Epub 2010 Sep 15.


Background: The Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative began in 2003 to address and alleviate the shortage of organs available for transplantation. This study investigated the patterns of organ donation by race to determine if the Collaborative had an impact on donation rates among ethnic minorities.

Study design: The following data from the Southern California regional organ procurement organization were reviewed between 2004 and 2008: age, race (Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and other), the numbers of eligible referrals for organ donation and actual donors, types of donors, consent rates, conversion rates, organs procured per donor (OPPD), and organs transplanted per donor (OTPD). Logistic regression was used to determine independent predictors of ≥4 OTPD.

Results: There were 1,776 actual donors out of 2,760 eligible deaths (conversion rate 64%). Hispanics demonstrated a significantly lower conversion rate than Caucasians (64% vs 77%, p < 0.001), but a considerably higher rate than African Americans (50%) and Asians (51%, p < 0.05 for both). There were no significant changes in conversion rates over time in any race. Age was a negative predictor (odds ratio [OR] 0.95), and trauma mechanism (OR 2.1) and standard criteria donor status (OR 2.5) were positive independent predictors of ≥4 OTPD. Race did not affect OTPD (all groups, p > 0.05).

Conclusions: Conversion rates among all ethnic minorities were significantly lower than the rates observed in Caucasians. However, when controlling for other factors, race was not a significant risk factor for the number of organs transplanted per donor. The Collaborative has not had an identifiable effect on race conversion rates during the 5 years since its implementation. Further intervention is necessary to improve the conversion rate in ethnic minorities in Southern California.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asian / statistics & numerical data
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • California / epidemiology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Ethnicity / classification*
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups / classification*
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Donors / supply & distribution*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data