Study Finds Link Between Income and Organ Transplant Access

November 9, 2015

Study Finds Link Between Income and Organ Transplant Access

Individuals living in higher income neighborhoods are more likely to register with multiple transplant centers and have increased access to organ transplants, Columbia University Medical Center researchers report. The new study was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2015.

Previous research indicates that there are significant differences in access to organ transplantation across the United States. In this study, researchers examined a national database of organ donors between 2000 and 2013 to quantify the effect of multiple-listing—a policy that allows patients to simultaneously place themselves on the waiting lists of different transplant centers.

The study found that on average, patients who registered at multiple centers lived in ZIP codes with a higher median income—over $25,000 more—compared with patients who listed at only one center. Across all organs, patients who multiple-listed had higher eventual transplant rates (up to two times more frequent) and lower rates of death while waiting.

“The fairness has to be questioned because organ (transplants) are at such a shortage,” said study lead author Raymond Givens, MD, PhD, a clinical fellow in the division of Cardiology at Columbia University Medical Center. “If this is essentially giving people with more resources the ability to jump the line, (the multiple-listing policy) has to be re-examined."

Read more about the study at the American Heart Association.

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Cardiovascular disease, Organ Transplantation