Disparities in liver transplantation: The association between donor quality and recipient Race/Ethnicity and sex

Amit K. Mathur, Douglas E. Schaubel, Hui Zhang, Mary K. Guidinger, Robert M. Merion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: We aimed to examine the association between recipient race/ethnicity and sex, donor liver quality, and liver transplant graft survival. METHODS: Adult non-status 1 liver recipients transplanted between March 1, 2002, and December 31, 2008, were identified using Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients data. The factors of interest were recipient race/ethnicity and sex. Donor risk index (DRI) was used as a donor quality measure. Logistic regression was used to assess the association between race/ethnicity and sex in relation to the transplantation of low-quality (high DRI) or high-quality (low DRI) livers. Cox regression was used to assess the association between race/ethnicity and sex and liver graft failure risk, accounting for DRI. RESULTS: Hispanics were 21% more likely to receive low-quality grafts compared to whites (odds ratio [OR]=1.21, P=0.002). Women had greater odds of receiving a low-quality graft compared to men (OR=1.24, P<0.0001). Despite adjustment for donor quality, African American recipients still had higher graft failure rates compared to whites (hazard ratio [HR]=1.28, P<0.001). Hispanics (HR=0.89, P=0.023) had significantly lower graft failure rates compared to whites despite higher odds of receiving a higher DRI graft. Using an interaction model of DRI and race/ethnicity, we found that the impact of DRI on graft failure rates was significantly reduced for African Americans compared to whites (P=0.02). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that while liver graft quality differed significantly by recipient race/ethnicity and sex, donor selection practices do not seem to be the dominant factor responsible for worse liver transplant outcomes for minority recipients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)862-869
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 27 2014



  • Clinical outcomes
  • Donor risk
  • Liver graft survival
  • Liver transplantation
  • Racial and ethnic disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation

Cite this