A Method for Estimating Solid Organ Donor Potential by Organ Procurement Region

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This study sought to develop a methodology for estimating potential solid organ donors and measuring donation performance in a geographic region based on readily available data on the hospitals in that region.


Medical records were reviewed in a stratified random sample of 89 hospitals from 3 regions to attain a baseline of donor potential. Data on a range of hospital characteristics were collected and tested as predictors of donor potential through the use of hierarchical Poisson regression modeling.


Five hospital characteristics predicted donor potential: hospital deaths, hospital Medicare case-mix index, total hospital staffed beds, medical school affiliation, and trauma center certification. Regional estimates were attained by aggregating individual hospital estimates. Confidence intervals for these regional estimates indicated that actual donations represented from 28% to 44% of the potential in the regions studied.


This methodology accurately estimates organ donor potential within 3 geographic regions and lays the foundation for evaluating organ donation effectiveness nationwide. Additional research is needed to test the validity of the model in other geographic regions and to further explore organ donor potential in hospitals with fewer than 50 beds. (Am J Public Health. 1998;88:1645-1650).

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