Factors associated with health inequities in access to kidney transplantation in the USA: A scoping review

Zachary Ernst, Andrew Wilson, Andriana Peña, Mitchell Love, Ty Moore, Matt Vassar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The kidney is the most needed organ for transplantation in the United States. However, demand and scarcity of this organ has caused significant inequities for historically marginalized groups. In this review, we report on the frequency of inequities in all steps of kidney transplantation from 2016 to 2022. Search criteria was based on the National Institute of Health's (NIH) 2022 list of populations who experience health inequities, which includes: race and ethnicity; sex or gender; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer + (LGBTQ+); underserved rural communities; education level; income; and occupation status. We outline steps for future research aimed at assessing interventions and programs to improve health outcomes. Methods: This scoping review was developed following guidelines from the Joanna Briggs Institute and PRISMA extension for scoping reviews. In July 2022, we searched Medline (via PubMed) and Ovid Embase databases to identify articles addressing inequities in access to kidney transplantation in the United States. Articles had to address at least one of the NIH's 2022 health inequity groups. Results: Our sample of 44 studies indicate that Black race, female sex or gender, and low socioeconomic status are negatively associated with referral, evaluation, and waitlisting for kidney transplantation. Furthermore, only two studies from our sample investigated LGBTQ+ identity since the NIH's addition of SGM in 2016 regarding access to transplantation. Lastly, we found no detectable trend in studies for the four most investigated inequity groups between 2016 and 2022. Conclusion: Investigations in inequities for access to kidney transplantation for the two most studied groups, race/ethnicity and sex or gender, have shown no change in frequencies. Regarding race and ethnicity, continued interventions focused on educating Black patients and staff of dialysis facilities may increase transplant rates. Studies aimed at assessing effectiveness of the Kidney Paired Donation program are highly warranted due to incompatibility problems in female patients. The sparse representation for the LGBTQ+ population may be due to a lack of standardized data collection for sexual orientation. We recommend this community be engaged via surveys and further investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100751
JournalTransplantation Reviews
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Historically marginalized
  • Inequity
  • Kidney transplantation
  • LGBTQ+


Dive into the research topics of 'Factors associated with health inequities in access to kidney transplantation in the USA: A scoping review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this