The clinical relevance of Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network screening criteria for program performance review in the United States

Nicholas Salkowski, Andrew Wey, Jon J. Snyder, Jeffrey P. Orlowski, Ajay K. Israni, Bertram L. Kasiske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network is charged with overseeing the quality of transplant programs in the United States. However, there has been controversy over whether too many programs are being identified as underperforming. It has also been suggested that dramatic improvements in outcomes throughout the United States have made the thresholds for determining which deceased donor transplant programs are underperforming no longer clinically relevant. The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients compared actual and expected 1-y graft survival for transplant programs identified as underperforming in the most recent cohort (transplants from July 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014). For most organs, actual 1-y graft survival was substantially lower for programs identified as underperforming than for programs identified as performing as expected. Differences were smallest for kidney programs: median 1-y graft survival 89.2% vs 95.4% in large-volume programs identified and not identified for Membership and Professional Standards Committee review, respectively. Median expected graft survival was only slightly lower (94.8% vs 95.1%, respectively), suggesting that identified and not identified programs tend to have similar risk tolerances. An excess of 143 grafts were lost from kidney programs identified as underperforming. Transplant programs identified as underperforming generally have reduced 1-y graft survival that stakeholders may consider clinically relevant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1066-1073
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Transplantation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank SRTR colleague Nan Booth, MSW, MPH, ELS, for manuscript editing. This work was conducted under the support of the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, contractor for the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, as a deliverable under contract no. HHSH250201500009C (US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Healthcare Systems Bureau, Division of Transplantation). As a US Government-sponsored work, there are no restrictions on its use. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the US Government. AI was partially supported by R01 HS 24527.

Publisher Copyright:
Published 2016. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network
  • graft survival
  • mortality
  • organ transplantation
  • outcome assessment

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