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Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2018 Apr 6;13(4):620-627. doi: 10.2215/CJN.08600817. Epub 2018 Mar 26.

Transplant Center Patient Navigator and Access to Transplantation among High-Risk Population: A Randomized, Controlled Trial.

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Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery and.
Emory Transplant Center, Atlanta, Georgia; and.
Renal Division, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.
Office of Nursing Research, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and.
Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery and
Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.



Barriers exist in access to kidney transplantation, where minority and patients with low socioeconomic status are less likely to complete transplant evaluation. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a transplant center-based patient navigator in helping patients at high risk of dropping out of the transplant evaluation process access the kidney transplant waiting list.


We conducted a randomized, controlled trial of 401 patients (n=196 intervention and n=205 control) referred for kidney transplant evaluation (January 2013 to August 2014; followed through May 2016) at a single center. A trained navigator assisted intervention participants from referral to waitlisting decision to increase waitlisting (primary outcome) and decrease time from referral to waitlisting (secondary outcome). Time-dependent Cox proportional hazards models were used to determine differences in waitlisting between intervention and control patients.


At study end, waitlisting was not significantly different among intervention (32%) versus control (26%) patients overall (P=0.17), and time from referral to waitlisting was 126 days longer for intervention patients. However, the effectiveness of the navigator varied from early (<500 days from referral) to late (≥500 days) follow-up. Although no difference in waitlisting was observed among intervention (50%) versus control (50%) patients in the early period (hazard ratio, 1.03; 95% confidence interval, 0.69 to 1.53), intervention patients were 3.3 times more likely to be waitlisted after 500 days (75% versus 25%; hazard ratio, 3.31; 95% confidence interval, 1.20 to 9.12). There were no significant differences in intervention versus control patients who started evaluation (85% versus 79%; P=0.11) or completed evaluation (58% versus 51%; P=0.14); however, intervention patients had more living donor inquiries (18% versus 10%; P=0.03).


A transplant center-based navigator targeting disadvantaged patients improved waitlisting but not until after 500 days of follow-up. However, the absolute effect was relatively small.


Follow-Up Studies; Humans; Living Donors; Minority Groups; Patient Navigation; Proportional Hazards Models; Referral and Consultation; Social Class; Transplants; Vulnerable Populations; Waiting Lists; clinical trial; kidney; kidney transplantation; risk factors; transplant outcomes

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