Broken Chains and Reneging: A Review of 1748 Kidney Paired Donation Transplants

Am J Transplant. 2017 Sep;17(9):2451-2457. doi: 10.1111/ajt.14343. Epub 2017 Jun 9.


Concerns regarding the potential for broken chains and "reneges" within kidney paired donation (KPD) and its effect on chain length have been raised previously. Although these concerns have been tested in simulation studies, real-world data have yet to be evaluated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the actual rate and causes of broken chains within a large KPD program. All patients undergoing renal transplantation through the National Kidney Registry from 2008 through May 2016 were included for analysis. Broken chains and loops were identified. A total of 344 chains and 78 loops were completed during the study period, yielding a total of 1748 transplants. Twenty broken chains and one broken loop were identified. The mean chain length (number of transplants) within broken chains was 4.8 compared with 4.6 of completed chains (p = 0.78). The most common causes of a broken chain were donor medical issues incurred while acting as a bridge donor (n = 8), donors electing not to proceed (n = 6), and kidneys being declined by the recipient surgeon (n = 4). All recipients involved in a broken chain subsequently received a transplant. Based on the results, broken chains are infrequent, are rarely due to lack of donor motivation, and have no significant impact on chain length.

Keywords: clinical research/practice; domino transplantation; donors and donation: paired exchange; kidney transplantation/nephrology; kidney transplantation: living donor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Donor Selection*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Living Donors / supply & distribution*
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*
  • Waiting Lists