Nephrologists' perspectives on recipient eligibility and access to living kidney donor transplantation

Camilla Hanson, Steven Chadban, Jeremy Chapman, Jonathan Craig, Germaine Wong, Allison Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background.Wide variations in access to living kidney donation are apparent across transplant centers. Such disparities may be in part explained by nephrologists' beliefs and decisions about recipient eligibility. This study aims to describe nephrologists' attitudes towards recipient eligibility and access to living kidney donor transplantation. Methods. Face-to-face semistructured interviews were conducted from June to October 2013 with 41 nephrologists from Australia and New Zealand. Transcripts were analyzed thematically. Results.We identified five major themes: championing optimal recipient outcomes (maximizing recipient survival, increasing opportunity, accepting justified risks, needing control and certainty of outcomes, safeguarding psychological wellbeing), justifying donor sacrifice (confidence in reasonable utility, sparing the donor, ensuring reciprocal donor benefit), advocating for patients (being proactive and encouraging, addressing ambivalence, depending on supportive infrastructure, avoiding selective recommendations), maintaining professional boundaries (minimizing conflict of interest, respecting shared decisionmaking, emphasizing patient accountability, restricted decisional power, protecting unit interests), and entrenched inequities (exclusivity of living donors, inherently advantaging self-advocates, navigating language barriers, increasing center transparency, inevitable geographical disadvantage, understanding cultural barriers). Conclusions. Nephrologists' decisions about recipient suitability for living donor transplantation aimed to achieve optimal recipient outcomes, but were constrained by competing priorities to ensure reasonable utility derived from the donor kidney and protect the integrity of the transplant program. Comprehensive guidelines that provide explicit recommendations for complex medical and psychosocial risk factors might promote more equitable and transparent decision-making. Psychosocial support and culturally sensitive educational resources are needed to help nephrologists advocate for disadvantaged patients and address disparities in access to living kidney donor transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-953
Number of pages11
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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