Deceased Donor Procurement Biopsy Practices, Interpretation, and Histology-Based Decision-Making: A Survey of US Kidney Transplant Centers

Krista L. Lentine, Vidya A. Fleetwood, Yasar Caliskan, Henry Randall, Jason R. Wellen, Melissa Lichtenberger, Craig Dedert, Richard Rothweiler, Gary Marklin, Diane Brockmeier, Mark A. Schnitzler, Syed A. Husain, Sumit Mohan, Bertram L. Kasiske, Matthew Cooper, Roslyn B. Mannon, David A. Axelrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Introduction: The utility of kidney procurement biopsies is controversial. Understanding the current landscape of how clinicians obtain and use biopsies in organ evaluation may help inform consensus-building efforts. Methods: An electronic survey was distributed to clinicians at US kidney transplant programs (April 22, 2021–June 30, 2021) to evaluate donor biopsy indications, frequency, processing and interpretation, and impact of findings on practices. Results: Responses from staff involved in organ acceptance (73% surgeons, 20% nephrologists, 6% coordinators) at 95 transplant centers were analyzed, representing 40% of US transplant centers and 50% of recent deceased donor kidney transplant volume. More than a third of centers (35%) reported obtaining procurement biopsies on most-to-all kidneys. Most clinicians decided when to biopsy jointly with the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) (82%) based on formal criteria for the decision (72%), although 41% reported having requested a biopsy outside of the criteria. Most respondents used a semiquantitative scoring system for interpretation (57%). Many respondents reported rarely or never having access to renal specialty pathologists (37%) or to telepathology (59%). Most respondents reported that a favorable biopsy result would encourage them to accept a “marginal” donor kidney (72%); nearly half (46%) indicated that an unfavorable biopsy result would lead to decline of a standard criteria kidney. Conclusion: Procurement biopsies are commonly used in organ acceptance decisions despite inconsistent access to experienced renal pathologists and heterogeneous approaches to criteria, scoring, and interpretation. Ongoing study and consensus building are needed to direct procurement biopsy practice toward increasing organ utilization and reducing allocation inefficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1268-1277
Number of pages10
JournalKidney International Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • biopsy
  • kidney donation
  • organ procurement
  • organ quality assessment
  • practice variation
  • surveys


Dive into the research topics of 'Deceased Donor Procurement Biopsy Practices, Interpretation, and Histology-Based Decision-Making: A Survey of US Kidney Transplant Centers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this