Race-based question removed from Kidney Donor Profile Index to improve transplant equity

Kidney donors will no longer have to answer a race-based question, the National Kidney Foundation announced Monday. The organization is working to improve equity in kidney transplantation while increasing the odds for nearly 90,000 people on the national kidney transplant waitlist. File Photo by 4466844/Pixabay
Kidney donors will no longer have to answer a race-based question, the National Kidney Foundation announced Monday. The organization is working to improve equity in kidney transplantation while increasing the odds for nearly 90,000 people on the national kidney transplant waitlist. File Photo by 4466844/Pixabay

July 8 (UPI) — In a move to improve kidney transplant equity, a new policy will remove a question about race from the Kidney Donor Profile Index because it “dishonors African American/Black donors.”

The National Kidney Foundation and the American Society of Nephrology on the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network released a statement Monday, saying the African American/Black race-based indicator will be removed from the KDPI calculation to improve the chances for nearly 90,000 people who remain on the national kidney transplant waitlist.

“This has been a dishonor to African American/Black donors and a disservice to patients waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant,” said Kevin Longino, chief executive officer of NKF.

“We applaud OPTN for advancing this change and are optimistic that this policy will promote equity and increase the number of kidneys available for transplant now,” Longino added.

Last September, NKF launched a nationwide petition drive, calling for the removal of the race-based question.

“ASN applauds the revision of the KDPI without race,” said ASN president Deidra C. Crews. “The revised formula will better reflect the likelihood of graft failure for kidneys from deceased donors, and appropriately reflects the fact that race is a social, and not a biological, construct.”

Under the old formula, kidneys from Black donors were graded as having poorer organ function than kidneys from White donors.

“With the new approach, some kidneys that may have otherwise been considered unsuitable for transplantation due to the inclusion of race in the formula will now receive more favorable scores, including some that will now be classified with scores that make them more appropriate for transplant,” said Dr. Cynthia Delgado, who led the effort to reconsider the use of race.

In addition to removing race from the Kidney Donor Profile Index, Hepatitis C status will also be eliminated as doctors credit therapeutic advances for improving transplant outcomes with HCV-positive deceased donor kidneys.

“We believe all patients deserve equal access to kidney care and will continue to work towards that goal,” said Dr. Sylvia Rosas, NKF president.

“Removal of the African American/Black race coefficient from the score used to evaluate the suitability of the kidney for transplantation is likely to improve transplant equity.”

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