Sociodemographic Determinants of Waitlist and Posttransplant Survival Among End-Stage Liver Disease Patients

K. Ross, R. E. Patzer, D. S. Goldberg, R. J. Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


While regional organ availability dominates discussions of distribution policy, community-level disparities remain poorly understood. We studied micro-geographic determinants of survival risk and their distribution across Donor Service Areas (DSAs). Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients records for all adults waitlisted for liver transplantation 2002–2014 were reviewed. The primary exposure variables were county-level sociodemographic risk, as measured by the Community Health Score (CHS), a previously-validated composite index local health conditions, and distance to listing transplant center. Among 114 347 patients, the median CHS was 19.4 (range: 0–40). Compared the lowest risk counties (CHS 1–10), highest-risk counties (CHS 31–40) had more black (14.6% vs. 5.4%), publicly insured (44.9% vs. 33.0), and remote candidates (34.0% vs. 15.1% living >100 miles away). Higher-CHS candidates had greater waitlist mortality in Cox multivariable (HR 1.16 for CHS 31–40, 95% CI 1.11–1.21) and competing risks analysis (sHR 1.07, 95% CI 0.99–1.14). Post-transplant survival was similar across CHS quartiles. Living >25 miles from the transplant center conferred excess mortality risk (sHR 1.08, 95% CI 1.03–1.12). Proposed distribution changes would disproportionately impact DSAs with more high-CHS or distant candidates. Low-income, rural and minority patients experience excess mortality while awaiting transplant, and risk disproportionately worse outcomes with reduced organ availability under current proposals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2879-2889
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • health services and outcomes research
  • liver disease
  • liver transplantation/hepatology
  • organ allocation
  • organ procurement and allocation
  • waitlist management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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