Kidney transplant program waitlisting rate as a metric to assess transplant access

Am J Transplant. 2021 Jan;21(1):314-321. doi: 10.1111/ajt.16277. Epub 2020 Sep 15.


Kidney transplant program performance in the United States is commonly measured by posttransplant outcomes. Inclusion of pretransplant measures could provide a more comprehensive assessment of transplant program performance and necessary information for patient decision-making. In this study, we propose a new metric, the waitlisting rate, defined as the ratio of patients who are waitlisted in a center relative to the person-years referred for evaluation to a program. Furthermore, we standardize the waitlisting rate relative to the state average in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. The new metric was used as a proof-of-concept to assess transplant-program access compared to the existing transplant rate metric. The study cohorts were defined by linking 2017 United States Renal Data System (USRDS) data with transplant-program referral data from the Southeastern United States between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016. Waitlisting rate varied across the 9 Southeastern transplant programs, ranging from 10 to 22 events per 100 patient-years, whereas the program-specific waitlisting rate ratio ranged between 0.76 and 1.33. Program-specific waitlisting rate ratio was uncorrelated with the transplant rate ratio (r = -.15, 95% CI, -0.83 to 0.57). Findings warrant collection of national data on early transplant steps, such as referral, for a more comprehensive assessment of transplant program performance and pretransplant access.

Keywords: Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients (SRTR); ethics and public policy; health services and outcomes research; kidney disease; kidney transplantation/nephrology; patient referral; quality of care/care delivery; registry/registry analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic* / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • North Carolina
  • Referral and Consultation
  • United States
  • Waiting Lists