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Kidney Week

Abstract: PO2495

The Strength of Weak Ties and Living Donor Offers: A Multi-Site Social Network Analysis of Hemodialysis Patients

Session Information

Category: Transplantation

  • 1902 Transplantation: Clinical


  • Gillespie, Avrum, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Daw, Jonathan, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Brown, Riley, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Cappiello, Jamie, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Fink, Edward L., Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Gardiner, Heather Marie, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Gadegbeku, Crystal A., Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Reese, Peter P., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Obradovic, Zoran, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Increasing the rate of living donor kidney transplantation is crucial. Little is known about hemodialysis patients' social networks and the members who offer to donate yet are never evaluated.


We administered a REDCap social network survey in an urban (Philadelphia) and suburban (North Brunswick) hemodialysis clinic. We asked participants to identify their social network members, who offered to donate, whose offers were accepted, and who got tested. We analyzed the associations between living donor offers and the size and strength of the connections in the networks. Strongly connected members are those connected to greater than 2/3 of the other network members.


A total of 105 patients participated. Their mean age was 60 +/- 13 years. Half (54%) identified as male and 75% identified as black. Half were on the waiting list or undergoing testing (56%). The mean size of the networks was 5 members (SD2, range 1-10). Half (53%) of the participants received a living donor offer; 27% recieved one offer and 26% had 2 or more offers. Those with larger networks received more donation offers (r = 0.39; p < 0.01). Of the total 527 network members identified, 113 offered to donate, 43 of these offers were accepted with 12 being evaluated for donation. Most (83%) network members were strongly interconnected within the participants network, however, a greater of proportion of weakly interconnected network members offered a kidney donation compared to strongly connected members (31% v. 19%, p = 0.02). Participants accepted a greater proportion of offers from weakly connected members than strongly connected members (56% vs 33%, p = 0.03). Although a greater proportion of strongly connected members were evaluated compared to weaker connected members this was not significantly different (36% v. 17%, p = 0.16).


Weakly connected social network members tend to offer to be living kidney donors and a greater percentage of these offers are accepted. Unfortunately, most (89%) social network members who offer to donate never make it to the transplant center. Future interventions should focus on patients accepting living donor offers as well as identify methods to increase testing of interested donors especially those weakly connected in the network.


  • NIDDK Support