Wide US Regional Variation In Organ Donation Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. David Goldberg MD, MSCE
Assistant Professor of Medicine
LDI Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute, University of Pennsylvania
Medical Director for Living Donor Liver Transplantation, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Goldberg: While there are data that demonstrate differences in authorization (consent) rates for deceased donation among racial and ethnic minorities, it is unknown how these differences contribute to geographic differences in the number of deceased organ donors.  It has been postulated that geographic differences in the distribution of racial and ethnic minorities may contribute to differences in the deceased organ supply, yet there have been no empiric data to support this.  Using data on “eligible deaths,” defined as potential brain-dead organ donors <=70 years of age, we demonstrated that even after accounting for differences in the racial/ethnic demographics of the potential donor population, there are dramatic differences in authorization (consent) rates across geographic areas that are not explained by demographics alone. If the source of these differences could be identified, then there could be large increases in the number of organ donors, and lifesaving transplants, in areas with lower authorization rates.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Goldberg: The rates of authorization for donation among potential brain-dead organ donors varies dramatically across the United States, and these differences are not explained solely by donor demographics, including race/ethnicity.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Goldberg: It is necessary to identify what the root causes of the geographic differences in authorization rates are so that interventions can be applied to increase authorization rates, thus increasing the number of lifesaving transplants, in those areas that with lower rates.


Increasing the Number of Organ Transplants in the United States by Optimizing Donor Authorization Rates
Goldberg,1 B. French,2 P. Abt,3 R. Gilroy.4

1Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
2Biostatistics and Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
3Department of Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
4Department of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS.

2015 American Transplant Congress

Last Updated on May 11, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD