Discrepant subtyping of blood type A2 living kidney donors: Missed opportunities in kidney transplantation

Clin Transplant. 2021 Oct;35(10):e14422. doi: 10.1111/ctr.14422. Epub 2021 Jul 19.


Background: Despite the institution of a new Kidney Allocation System in 2014, A2/A2B to B transplantation has not increased as expected. The current Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network policy requires subtyping on two separate occasions, and in the setting of discrepant results, defaulting to the A1 subtype. However, there is significant inherent variability in the serologic assays used for blood group subtyping and genotyping is rarely done.

Methods: The National Kidney Registry, a kidney paired donation (KPD) program, performs serological typing on all A/AB donors, and in cases of non-A1/non-A1B donors, confirmatory genotyping is performed.

Results: Between 2/18/2018 and 9/15/2020, 13.0% (145) of 1,111 type A donors registered with the NKR were ultimately subtyped as A2 via genotyping. Notably, 49.6% (72) of these were subtyped as A1 at their donor center, and in accordance with OPTN policy, ineligible for allocation as A2.

Conclusion: Inaccurate A2 subtyping represents a significant lost opportunity in transplantation, especially in KPD where A2 donors can not only facilitate living donor transplantation for O and highly sensitized candidates, but can also facilitate additional living donor transplants. This study highlights the need for improved accuracy of subtyping technique, and the need for policy changes encouraging optimal utilization of A2 donor kidneys.

Keywords: A2 subtyping; disparities; genotyping; living donor transplantation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Grouping and Crossmatching
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Living Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*