Examining racial and socioeconomic disparity in the pediatric heart transplant evaluation

Academic Article


  • Racial disparities have been reported among pediatric patients waitlisted for and undergoing heart transplantation but have not been studied further upstream in the transplant candidate evaluation process. We retrospectively studied our single-center experience in order to investigate any potential biases in the evaluation process. Results of the heart transplant evaluation in children ≤18 years old at our institution were analyzed. Primary outcome was final disposition to waitlist or not. Race was defined by family self-identification. Descriptive and comparative statistical analyses were performed. From 2013 to 2019, 133 unique patients were referred for listing consideration. While Black patients comprised 44% of the referral population and had more markers of socioeconomic disadvantage, they comprised 43% of the patients who were listed for transplantation with no significant difference between these proportions (p =.96). Black and White patients made up a similar proportion of patients deemed too well or too ill for listing. Black patients had lower annual household income estimates and rates of household marriage. Despite identifying significant social challenges in 27 patients (18 of them Black), only five patients (3 Black and 2 White) were turned down for listing due to social barriers. While limited by the small number of patients turned down for social barriers, our transplant evaluation process does not appear to result in racial disparities in access to listing. Further studies are needed using national cohorts to explore possible racial disparities upstream from waitlisting and transplantation, such as during the referral and evaluation.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Carlo WF; Floyd S; Pearce FB; Collins JL; Hubbard M; Dabal RJ; Buckman JR; Padilla LA; Kirklin JK
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 4