UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Adding epitope compatibility to deceased donor kidney allocation criteria : recommendations from a pan-Canadian online public deliberation Edwards, Louisa; Bentley, Colene; Burgess, Michael M.; Sapir-Pichhadze, Ruth; Hartell, David; Keown, Paul A.; Bryan, Stirling


Background: The widening supply–demand imbalance for kidneys necessitates finding ways to reduce rejection and improve transplant outcomes. Human leukocyte antigen (HLA) epitope compatibility between donor and recipient may minimize premature graft loss and prolong survival, but incorporating this strategy to deceased donor allocation criteria prioritizes transplant outcomes over wait times. An online public deliberation was held to identify acceptable trade-offs when implementing epitope compatibility to guide Canadian policymakers and health professionals in deciding how best to allocate kidneys fairly. Methods Invitations were mailed to 35,000 randomly-selected Canadian households, with over-sampling of rural/remote locations. Participants were selected for socio-demographic diversity and geographic representation. Five two-hour online sessions were held from November–December 2021. Participants received an information booklet and heard from expert speakers prior to deliberating on how to fairly implement epitope compatibility for transplant candidates and governance issues. Participants collectively generated and voted on recommendations. In the final session, kidney donation and allocation policymakers engaged with participants. Sessions were recorded and transcribed. Results Thirty-two individuals participated and generated nine recommendations. There was consensus on adding epitope compatibility to the existing deceased donor kidney allocation criteria. However, participants recommended including safeguards/flexibility around this (e.g., mitigating declining health). They called for a transition period to epitope compatibility, including an ongoing comprehensive public education program. Participants unanimously recommended regular monitoring and public sharing of epitope-based transplant outcomes. Conclusions Participants supported adding epitope compatibility to kidney allocation criteria, but advised safeguards and flexibility around implementation. These recommendations provide guidance to policymakers about incorporating epitope-based deceased donor allocation criteria.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)