Enhanced Advocacy and Health Systems Training through Patient Navigation Increases Access to Living-donor Kidney Transplantation

Academic Article


  • Background. To date, no living donation program has simultaneously addressed the needs of both transplant candidates and living donors by separating the advocacy role from the candidate and improving potential donor comfort with the evaluation process. We hypothesized that the development of a novel program designed to promote both advocacy and systems training among transplant candidates and their potential living kidney donors would result in sustained increases in living-donor kidney transplantation (LDKT). To this end, we developed and implemented a Living Donor Navigator (LDN) Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Methods. We included adult patients awaiting kidney-only transplant in a retrospective cohort analysis. Using time-varying Cox proportional hazards regression, we explored likelihood of living donor screening and approval by participation in the LDN program. Results. There were 56 LDN participants and 1948 nonparticipants (standard of care). LDN was associated with a 9-fold increased likelihood of living donor screenings (adjusted hazard ratio, 9.27; 95% confidence interval, 5.97-14.41, P < 0.001) and a 7-fold increased likelihood of having an approved living donor (adjusted hazard ratio, 7.74; 95% confidence interval, 3.54-16.93; P < 0.001) compared with the standard of care. Analyses by participant race demonstrated higher likelihood of screened donors and a similar likelihood of having an approved donor among African Americans compared with Caucasians. Conclusions. These data suggest that both advocacy and systems training are needed to increase actual LDKT rates, and that LDN programs may mitigate existing racial disparities in access to LDKT.
  • Published In

  • Transplantation  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Locke JE; Reed RD; Kumar V; Berry B; Hendricks D; Carter A; Shelton BA; Mustian MN; Maclennan PA; Qu H
  • Start Page

  • 122
  • End Page

  • 129