Socioeconomic factors as predictors of organ donation

Malay B. Shah, Valery Vilchez, Adam Goble, Michael F. Daily, Jonathan C. Berger, Roberto Gedaly, Derek A. DuBay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background Despite numerous initiatives to increase solid organs for transplant, the gap between donors and recipients widens. There is little in the literature identifying socioeconomic predictors for donation. We evaluate the correlation between socioeconomic factors and familial authorization for donation. Methods A retrospective analysis of adult potential donor referrals between 2007 and 2012 to our organ procurement organization (OPO) was performed. Potential donor information was obtained from the OPO database, death certificates, and the US Census Report. Data on demographics, education, residence, income, registry status, cause and manner of death, as well as OPO assessments and approach for donation were collected. End point was familial authorization for donation. Results A total of 1059 potential donors were included, with an overall authorization rate of 47%. The majority was not on the donor registry (73%). Younger donors (18-39 y: odds ratio [OR] = 4.9, P < 0.001; 40-60 y: OR = 2.1, P < 0.001), higher levels of education (college: OR = 2.5, P = 0.005; graduate studies: OR = 3.9, P = 0.002), prior listing on the donor registry (OR = 10.3, P < 0.001), and residence in counties with lower poverty rates than the US rates (OR = 1.7, P = 0.02) were independently associated with higher authorization rates. Decoupling (OR = 3.1, P < 0.001) and donation first mentioned by the local health care provider (OR = 1.8, P = 0.01) were also independently associated with higher authorization rates. Conclusions Donor registration correlated most strongly with the highest authorization rates. These results indicate that public educational efforts in populations with unfavorable socioeconomic considerations may be beneficial in improving donor registration. Collaborations with local providers as well as OPO in-hospital assessments and approach techniques can help with improving authorization rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-94
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.


  • Disparities
  • Familial authorization
  • Organ donation
  • Socioeconomic
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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