March 28, 2024

Donor hearts denied more often to male, black male transplant candidates

Editor's Note

New research shows transplant center teams are more to likely reject offers of donor hearts to black men and men than black women and white women, MedPage Today reported on March 25.

“The cumulative probability of a donor heart being accepted by the transplant center team was most favorable for white women, followed by Black women, white men, then Black men,” the report notes, citing data from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and a research group led by Khadijah Breathett, MD, MS, of Indiana University in Indianapolis.

Published in JAMA, the data also shows the trend at work in terms of first offers accepted and median number of offers until an offer was accepted. “Disparities persisted after adjusting for candidate-, donor-, and offer-level variables, possibly suggesting racial and gender bias in the decision-making process,” it notes. 

Noting that demand for donor heart far exceeds supply, the full MedPage report offers details on reasons for discrepancy, the shortcomings of the current 6-tier system for distribution, and more.


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