Balancing competing needs in kidney transplantation: does an allocation system prioritizing children affect the renal transplant function?

Transpl Int. 2017 Jan;30(1):68-75. doi: 10.1111/tri.12874. Epub 2016 Nov 2.


Children often merit priority in access to deceased donor kidneys by organ-sharing organizations. We report the impact of the new Swiss Organ Allocation System (SOAS) introduced in 2007, offering all kidney allografts from deceased donors <60 years preferentially to children. The retrospective cohort study included all paediatric transplant patients (<20 years of age) before (n = 19) and after (n = 32) the new SOAS (from 2001 to 2014). Estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), urine protein-to-creatinine ratio (UPC), need for antihypertensive medication, waiting times to kidney transplantation (KTX), number of pre-emptive transplantations and rejections, and the proportion of living donor transplants were considered as outcome parameters. Patients after the new SOAS had significantly better eGFRs 2 years after KTX (Mean Difference, MD = 25.7 ml/min/1.73 m2 , P = 0.025), lower UPC ratios (Median Difference, MeD = -14.5 g/mol, P = 0.004), decreased waiting times to KTX (MeD = -97 days, P = 0.021) and a higher proportion of pre-emptive transplantations (Odds Ratio = 9.4, 95% CI = 1.1-80.3, P = 0.018), while the need for antihypertensive medication, number of rejections and living donor transplantations remained stable. The new SOAS is associated with improved short-term clinical outcomes and more rapid access to KTX. Despite lacking long-term research, the study results should encourage other policy makers to adopt the SOAS approach.

Keywords: children; kidney allocation; kidney transplant function; policy analysis.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation / methods*
  • Living Donors
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Renal Insufficiency / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods*
  • Transplants
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Creatinine