Potential implications of a more timely living kidney donor evaluation

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Abstract

Living donor kidney transplantation is the most promising way to avoid or minimize the amount of time a recipient spends on dialysis before transplantation. We studied 887 living kidney donors at 5 transplant centers in Ontario, Canada, who started their evaluation and donated between April 2006 and March 2014. Using a series of hypothetical scenarios, we estimated the impact of an earlier living donor evaluation completion and donation on the number pre-emptive transplants, the time spent on dialysis, healthcare cost savings from averted dialysis costs (CAD $2016), and the number of additional transplants. During the study period, if the donor transplants occurred 3 months earlier, the healthcare system would save on average $12 055 (standard deviation [SD] $13 594) per recipient; 21 recipients could have avoided dialysis altogether, and 57 additional transplants (a 26% increase) could have occurred each year. For the 220 living kidney donor transplants performed in Ontario, Canada, each year, this translates to a total annual cost savings of $2.7M. In conclusion, a more timely evaluation of living donor candidates and their intended recipients may increase the supply of kidneys for transplantation. Improved evaluation efficiency may also yield more pre-emptive transplants and substantial healthcare cost savings through averted dialysis costs.

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