UNMC Study Finds Need to Re-examine Transplant Allocation

June 29, 2021, 1 p.m. ·

Dr. Scott Westphal
Dr. Scott Westphal is an assistant professor of internal medicine, focusing on nephrology. (Photo courtesy of Scott Westphal)

A University of Nebraska Medical Center study shows there is a need to re-examine organ transplant allocation. Multi-organ transplant candidates, those needing a kidney transplant simultaneously with a liver or heart, often receive a higher priority allocation than those needing a kidney transplant alone. Lead author of the study Dr. Scott Westphal said this puts kidney transplant candidates at a disadvantage. 

"Those patients [multi-organ transplant candidates] receive significant priority and get transplants ahead of those patients who need a kidney alone. So it does have some potential impact on equity and fairness and that’s what we were trying to get at with this study,” Westphal said.

The study found that after missing out on a potential organ allocation offer, just under 30% of next-sequential kidney transplant candidates ended up not getting the transplant they needed. Dr. Westphal said the need for multi-organ transplants has increased significantly in the last 20 years.