ExpiresSeptember 8, 2024
CME Provider: JAMA Surgery
Description of CME Course
Importance Policy makers, transplant professionals, and patient organizations agree that there is a need to increase the number of kidney transplants by facilitating living donation. Vouchers for future transplant provide a means of overcoming the chronological incompatibility that occurs when the ideal time for living donation differs from the time at which the intended recipient actually needs a transplant. However, uncertainty remains regarding the actual change in the number of living kidney donors associated with voucher programs and the capability of voucher redemptions to produce timely transplants.
Objective To examine the consequences of voucher-based kidney donation and the capability of voucher redemptions to provide timely kidney allografts.
Design, Setting, and Participants This multicenter cohort study of 79 transplant centers across the US used data from the National Kidney Registry from January 1, 2014, to January 31, 2021, to identify all family vouchers and patterns in downstream kidney-paired donations. The analysis included living kidney donors and recipients participating in the National Kidney Registry family voucher program.
Exposures A voucher was provided to the intended recipient at the time of donation. Vouchers had no cash value and could not be sold, bartered, or transferred to another person. When a voucher was redeemed, a living donation chain was used to return a kidney to the voucher holder.
Main Outcomes and Measures Deidentified demographic and clinical data from each kidney donation were evaluated, including the downstream patterns in kidney-paired donation. Voucher redemptions were separately evaluated and analyzed.
Results Between 2014 and 2021, 250 family voucher–based donations were facilitated. Each donation precipitated a transplant chain with a mean (SD) length of 2.3 (1.6) downstream kidney transplants, facilitating 573 total transplants. Of those, 111 transplants (19.4%) were performed in highly sensitized recipients. Among 250 voucher donors, the median age was 46 years (range, 19-78 years), and 157 donors (62.8%) were female, 241 (96.4%) were White, and 104 (41.6%) had blood type O. Over a 7-year period, the waiting time for those in the National Kidney Registry exchange pool decreased by more than 3 months. Six vouchers were redeemed, and 3 of those redemptions were among individuals with blood type O. The time from voucher redemption to kidney transplant ranged from 36 to 155 days.
Conclusions and Relevance In this study, the family voucher program appeared to mitigate a major disincentive to living kidney donation, namely the reluctance to donate a kidney in the present that could be redeemed in the future if needed. The program facilitated kidney donations that may not otherwise have occurred. All 6 of the redeemed vouchers produced timely kidney transplants, indicating the capability of the voucher program.
1. This activity is accredited by the American Medical Association.
2. This activity is free to AMA members.
ABMS Member Board Approvals by Type
ABMS Lifelong Learning CME Activity
Allergy and Immunology
Colon and Rectal Surgery
Medical Genetics and Genomics
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Psychiatry and Neurology
NOTE: If a Member Board has not deemed this activity for MOC approval as an accredited CME activity, this activity may count toward an ABMS Member Board’s general CME requirement. Please refer directly to your Member Board’s MOC Part II Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment Program Requirements.
(1) To identify the extent to which the use of family vouchers for future kidney transplant will help to expand the living donor pool. (2) Are voucher redemptions capable of facilitating timely kidney allografts?
Health Policy, Surgery, Transplantation, Nephrology
CME Credit Type
AMA PRA Category 1 Credit