Disparities in Deceased Organ Donor Research Authorization: Experience at One Organ Procurement Organization and Call for National Conversations

Krista L Lentine, Cameran Jones, Wisit Cheungpasitporn, Richard Rothweiler, Huiling Xiao, Gary Marklin, Mariella Ortigosa-Goggins, Kathryn K Lindsay, Mark A Schnitzler, Matthew Cooper, Roslyn B Mannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction: Research with deceased donor organs can provide an important platform for studying interventions to improve organ use and outcomes after authorization from the next-of-kin (NOK) or before death by the decedent (i.e., first-person authorization [FPA]). To date, information on authorization rates across donor subgroups is lacking.

Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of all 690 deceased organ donors from January 2017 to December 2019 at a midsized Midwestern organ procurement organization (OPO). Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess associations between donor factors and research decline (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 95% confidence interval [CI]).

Results: Electronic records for all 690 deceased donors were reviewed. Of these, 659 (95.5%) yielded at least one transplanted organ. Overall, research was declined in 10.8% of donations. Compared to White donors, research decline was higher for Black (16.0% vs. 8.9%; aOR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.03-3.40; P = 0.04) and other non-White donors (24.0% vs. 8.9%; aOR, 4.21; 95% CI, 1.02-17.39; P = 0.05). Unadjusted research decline trended higher for Hispanic donors versus non-Hispanic donors (23.1% vs. 10.5%; P = 0.14). Compared to donors age <40 years, research decline trended higher for donors age ≥65 years (16.7% vs. 11.8%; aOR, 4.87; 95% CI, 1.12-21.05; P = 0.03), whereas research decline was 55% lower when donors provided FPA (7.3% vs 15.0%; aOR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.27-0.76; P = 0.003).

Conclusions: Deceased donor research authorization decline is higher for Black, other non-White, and older donors, but lower when the descendent provides FPA. Identification of disparities in research authorization may stimulate educational strategies to reduce barriers to scientific investigations directed at optimizing the outcomes of organ donation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2331-2337
Number of pages7
JournalKidney International Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


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