The Living Donor Lost Wages Trial: Study Rationale and Protocol

Curr Transplant Rep. 2018 Mar;5(1):45-54. Epub 2018 Jan 19.


Purpose of review: This paper describes the background, rationale, and design of an NIH-funded, single-center study to test the impact of offering reimbursement for donor lost wages incurred during the post-nephrectomy recovery period on the live donor kidney transplant (LDKT) rate in newly evaluated kidney transplant candidates, to examine whether offering reimbursement for donor lost wages reduces racial disparity in LDKT rates, and to determine whether higher reimbursement amounts lead to higher LDKT rates.

Recent findings: LDKT is the optimal treatment for renal failure. However, living kidney donation has declined in the past decade, particularly among men, younger adults, blacks, and low-income adults. There is evidence that donation-related costs may deter both transplant candidates and potential donors from considering LDKT. Lost wages is a major source of financial loss for some living donors and, unlike travel and lodging expenses, is not reimbursed by financial assistance programs.

Summary: The study addresses the transplant community's call to reduce the financial burden of living donation and examine its impact on LDKT rates. Findings have the potential to influence policy, clinical practice, LDKT access, and income-related and racial disparities in LDKT and living donation.

Keywords: Living donation; financial neutrality; kidney donation; live donor kidney transplantation.