The weekend effect alters the procurement and discard rates of deceased donor kidneys in the United States

Kidney Int. 2016 Jul;90(1):157-63. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2016.03.007. Epub 2016 May 12.


Factors contributing to the high rate of discard among deceased donor kidneys remain poorly understood and the influence of resource limitations of weekends on kidney transplantation is unknown. To quantify this we used data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients and assembled a retrospective cohort of 181,799 deceased donor kidneys recovered for transplantation from 2000-2013. We identified the impact of the day of the week on the procurement and subsequent utilization or discard of deceased donor kidneys in the United States, as well as report the geographic variation of the impact of weekends on transplantation. Compared with weekday kidneys, organs procured on weekends were significantly more likely to be discarded than transplanted (odds ratio: 1.16; 95% confidence interval: 1.13-1.19), even after adjusting for organ quality (adjusted odds ratio: 1.13; 95% confidence interval: 1.10-1.17). Weekend discards were of a significantly higher quality than weekday discards (Kidney Donor Profile Index: 76.5% vs. 77.3%). Considerable geographic variation was noted in the proportion of transplants that occurred over the weekend. Kidneys available for transplant over the weekend were significantly more likely to be used at larger transplant centers, be shared without payback, and experienced shorter cold ischemia times. Thus, factors other than kidney quality are contributing to the discard of deceased donor kidneys, particularly during weekends. Policy prescriptions, administrative or organizational solutions within transplant programs may potentially mitigate against the recent increase in kidney discards.

Keywords: organ allocation; outcomes; renal transplantation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allografts / statistics & numerical data*
  • Donor Selection / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Organizational Policy
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Tissue Donors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / standards
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States