The quest for living-related kidney donors for children with end-stage renal disease

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In a pediatric renal transplant program that actively seeks living-related kidney donors, we achieved a living donor rate of 55% in 119 children. This approximates the national average but is less than an idealized goal. For black children, the living-donor transplant rate was 41%, a disconcertingly low rate. In an attempt to define factors that negatively affected living-related donor availability, we analyzed our evaluation process by distinct phases (interview, histocompatibility testing and medical evaluation). We classified our families on the basis of locale (urban, suburban and rural), family unit (two or less parents, adult sibs or other relatives presenting at interview) and economic status (designating only economic-disadvantaged and other). While histoincompatibility is predictably a negative factor, the negative impacts of medical illness in the donor pool, economic disadvantage and single parent family are striking and cumulative. Our data validate the relative success of an aggressive recruitment policy in a patient population that includes many economically disadvantaged families. For pediatric renal transplant programs with low living-related donor rates, our data should encourage review and possible modification of the donor recruitment process.

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