Patient attitudes toward CDC high infectious risk donor kidney transplantation: inferences from focus groups

Clin Transplant. Mar-Apr 2012;26(2):247-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2011.01469.x. Epub 2011 May 9.


Introduction: Deceased donors are considered high infectious risk donors (IRDs) based on criteria thought to be associated with risk of HIV transmission. Significant variation exists in provider willingness to utilize IRD kidneys. Little is known about how patients view these organs. Our aim was to explore patient attitudes toward IRDs and IRD kidney transplantation.

Methods: Patients were recruited from a single-center deceased donor waitlist. Focus groups stratified by age and race were conducted to ascertain patient attitudes toward IRD kidney transplantation. Transcripts were examined using standard qualitative methods.

Results: Patients considered IRD kidneys most appropriate for patients at high risk of death or with poor quality of life on dialysis. Patients felt unprepared to receive organ offers, especially from IRDs. They desired information about IRD behaviors, kidney quality, and probability of undetected infection. Patients weighed the opinion of their nephrologist most heavily when deciding about organ offers. A brief education session about donor screening resulted in increased willingness to consider IRD kidneys.

Conclusions: Lack of preparedness contributes to patient apprehension toward IRD organs. Ongoing transplant education seems necessary. The non-transplant nephrologist seems to be the most trusted source of information.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attitude*
  • Cadaver
  • Decision Making
  • Donor Selection
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Hepatitis C / transmission
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Kidney Transplantation / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Patients / psychology*
  • Risk
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk-Taking
  • Tissue Donors*