In December 2014, a new kidney allocation system (KAS) was implemented in the United States in an attempt to improve access to transplant for historically underrepresented groups, and to incorporate longevity matching such that donor kidneys with the longest projected graft survival are given to recipients with the longest projected patient survival. The development of organ allocation policies is often guided by simulated allocation models, computer programs that simulate the arrival of donated organs and new candidates on the waiting list over a 1-year period to project outcomes under a new allocation method. We examined the early outcomes under the new KAS using quarterly data beginning in 2013, revealing whether trends were already underway before implementation. Quarterly data also serve to reveal any bolus effect, or a rapid rise or fall in the proportion of transplants in a given group due to reordering of the list, followed by tapering toward a new steady state. Post-KAS changes were notable for an increase in the proportion of transplants among younger candidates, black and Hispanic candidates, highly sensitized candidates, and those on dialysis for at least 5 years. Transplants among blood type B candidates increased slightly but these candidates remain underrepresented relative to their prevalence on the waiting list. Regional and national sharing increased under the new KAS, but transplants of kidneys with a kidney donor profile index above 85% decreased. Early graft survival appears unchanged, but given the increases in regional sharing, cold ischemia time, and transplants among highly sensitized candidates and candidates with long pretransplant dialysis time, long-term graft survival will need to monitored.
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© 2017 the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.