Standardized deceased donor kidney donation rates in the UK reveal marked regional variation and highlight the potential for increasing kidney donation: a prospective cohort study†

Br J Anaesth. 2014 Jul;113(1):83-90. doi: 10.1093/bja/aet473. Epub 2013 Dec 15.


Background: The UK has implemented a national strategy for organ donation that includes a centrally coordinated network of specialist nurses in organ donation embedded in all intensive care units and a national organ retrieval service for deceased organ donors. We aimed to determine whether despite the national approach to donation there is significant regional variation in deceased donor kidney donation rates.

Methods: The UK prospective audit of deaths in critical care was analysed for a cohort of patients who died in critical care between April 2010 and December 2011. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify the factors associated with kidney donation. The logistic regression model was then used to produce risk-adjusted funnel plots describing the regional variation in donation rates.

Results: Of the 27 482 patients who died in a critical care setting, 1528 (5.5%) became kidney donors. Factors found to influence donation rates significantly were: type of critical care [e.g. neurointensive vs general intensive care: OR 1.53, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.34-1.75, P<0.0001], patient ethnicity (e.g. 'Asian' vs 'white': OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.11-0.26, P<0.0001), age (e.g. age >69 vs age 18-39 yr: OR 0.2, 0.15-0.25, P<0.0001), and cause of death [e.g. 'other' (excluding 'stroke' and 'trauma') vs 'trauma': OR 0.04, 95% CI 0.03-0.05, P<0.0001]. Despite correction for these variables, kidney donation rates for the 20 UK kidney donor regions showed marked variation. The overall standardized donation rate ranged from 3.2 to 7.5%. Four regions had donation rates of >2 standard deviations (sd) from the mean (two below and two above). Regional variation was most marked for donation after circulatory death (DCD) kidney donors with 9 of the 20 regions demonstrating donation rates of >2 sd from the mean (5 below and 4 above).

Conclusions: The marked regional variation in kidney donation rates observed in this cohort after adjustment for factors strongly associated with donation rates suggests that there is considerable scope for further increasing kidney donation rates in the UK, particularly DCD.

Keywords: donors, organ transplantation; kidney, transplantation; model, statistical; surgery, transplantation; transplantation, kidney.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Critical Care Nursing / organization & administration
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / organization & administration
  • Kidney Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tissue Donors / supply & distribution*
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / statistics & numerical data
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / organization & administration*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / standards
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Young Adult