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Abstract: PO0763

Living Organ Donor Perspectives on Organ Donation During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Session Information

Category: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

  • 000 Coronavirus (COVID-19)


  • Harhay, Meera Nair, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Klassen, Ann Carroll, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Fleetwood, Janet, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Reese, Peter P., University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Lentine, Krista L., St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
  • Mittelman, Michael, American Living Organ Donor Fund, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • Bertha, Rebecca Leigh, American Living Organ Donor Fund, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, transplant programs across the U.S. postponed living donor surgeries and transplants. We examined perspectives of former and prospective living organ donors on the risks and excess burdens of organ donation during the COVID-19 pandemic.


In late April 2020, we disseminated an IRB-approved survey to a national online forum of over 1300 living donors and those in workup for donation. Using visual analog scales, respondents rated sources of information about COVID-19, burdens on donors due to the pandemic, and what factors should determine whether living donation should proceed during the pandemic (0=unimportant, 100=very important).


After 4 weeks, there were 101 respondents from 35 U.S. states; 63% were between 31-50 years old, 95% were non-Hispanic white, and 90% were female. Respondents included 68 living donors (72% kidney) and 33 people in work-up to donate (73% kidney). The most and least important sources of information about COVID-19 were personal doctors (median importance 88, IQR 73-100) and social media (median 26, IQR 12-54), respectively. Nearly half (41%) were unsure of their transplant program’s policy for living donation during the pandemic, and 58% reported that the decision to donate during COVID-19 should depend on factors such as transplant candidate health (median 100, IQR 90-100) and availability of COVID-19 tests (median 84, IQR 70-95). Respondents rated concern for transplant candidates and loss of employer-based health insurance as the most important pandemic-related stressors for donors (Figure).


Many living organ donors were uncertain about their transplant program’s approach for donation during the pandemic. Donors were concerned about the health of transplant candidates and financial stressors, and prioritized availability of COVID-19 testing to determine when living donation should proceed during the pandemic.


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