The Expanded Criteria Donor Policy: An Evaluation of Program Objectives and Indirect Ramifications


* Corresponding author: J. Schold,


The expanded criteria donor (ECD) policy was formalized in 2002, which defined higher-risk deceased donor kidneys recovered for transplantation. There has not been a comprehensive examination of the impact of policy on the allocation of ECD kidneys, waiting times for transplant, center listing patterns or human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matching.

We examined transplant candidates from 1998 to 2004 utilizing a national database. We constructed models to assess alterations in recipient characteristics of ECD kidneys and trends in waiting time and cold ischemia time (CIT) associated with policy. We also evaluated the impact of the proportion of center candidate listings for ECD kidneys on waiting times.

Elderly recipients were more likely to receive ECDs following policy (odds ratio = 1.36, p < 0.01). There was no association of decreased CIT or pretransplant dialysis time while increasing HLA mismatching with policy inception. Over one quarter of centers listed <20% of candidates for ECDs, while an additional quarter of centers listed >90%. Only centers with selective listing for ECDs offered reduced waiting times to ECD recipients.

The ECD policy demonstrates potential to achieve certain ascribed goals; however, the full impact of the program, reaching all transplant candidates, may only be achieved once ECD listing patterns are recommended and adopted accordingly.