Donor-Recipient Matching in Kidney Transplant: We're Not There Yet

Transplant Proc. 2021 Jul-Aug;53(6):1909-1914. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2021.05.010. Epub 2021 Jul 13.


Background: Strategic organ allocation is expected to prolong patient and graft survival after transplant. This study explored differences in graft survival when kidneys are allocated based on strategic donor-recipient (D-R) pairing vs with the existing Kidney Allocation System (KAS).

Methods: Using the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients from 2000 to 2014, we used a multivariable Cox model to assess the hazard ratios (HRs) for death or graft failure among 3 hypothetical donor kidneys transplanted into 3 hypothetical recipients, relative to an ideally matched D-R pair. Median predicted survival for each of the 9 possible D-R pairing combinations was determined, and outcomes for strategic D-R pairing were compared with those obtained using the KAS for allocation.

Results: A total of 31,607 patients (29.7%) died or developed graft loss over the study period. Strategic allocation of kidneys resulted in HRs for graft loss of 1.74 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.41-2.14), 1.82 (95% CI, 1.46-2.26), and 1.74 (95% CI 1.38-2.19) for recipients 1, 2 and 3 respectively, whereas by following the KAS, HRs were 1.93 (95%, CI 1.63-2.28), 2.06 (95% CI, 1.74-2.44), and 1.93 (95% CI, 1.58-2.37); corresponding to 3.84, 11.39, and 7.40 months longer predicted patient or graft survival for recipients 1, 2 and 3 with strategic D-R pairing compared with the KAS.

Conclusions: Allocation of kidneys by strategic D-R pairing may improve graft survival relative to allocation using the KAS.

MeSH terms

  • Graft Survival
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*
  • Transplant Recipients