Impact of substance abuse on access to renal transplantation.



Background: With an ever-increasing demand for kidneys and limited supply pool, it is essential to understand the balance between utility and equity in transplant access. The goal of this project was to evaluate the association between recipient's substance abuse and renal transplant access in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Methods: We used data from the United States Renal Data System. The primary variables of interest were abuse of alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs based on information from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services form 2728. We analyzed three outcomes in Cox model: (1) being placed on the waiting list for renal transplantation or transplanted (whichever occurred first); (2) first transplant in patients who were placed on the waiting list; and (3) graft loss or mortality after transplant. In addition, we performed subgroup analysis based on age, race, sex, diabetic status, and donor type. Results: We analyzed 1,077,699 patients (age of ESRD onset 62.9±15.5 years, 54.1% males, 64.2% white, and 29.7% African American). When compared with those with no substance abuse, abusing all three substances was associated with reduced transplant access (hazard ratio 0.39, P<0.001 for wait listing/transplant; hazard ratio 0.67, P=0.019 for transplant). This trend was similar in most subgroups studied. Conclusion: We demonstrated that patients with ESRD abusing or dependent on tobacco, alcohol, or illicit drugs are less likely to be placed on the waiting list for kidney transplant; and once on the list are less likely to be transplanted. The possible utility justifications for such disparity and potential interventions are discussed.


Health Management and Policy

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Lippincott Williams & Wilkens

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Copyright © 2011 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.