Variation in Racial Disparities in Liver Transplant Outcomes Across Transplant Centers in the United States

Katherine Ross-Driscoll, Michael Kramer, Raymond Lynch, Laura Plantinga, Joel Wedd, Rachel Patzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Little is known about the role that transplant centers may play in perpetuating racial disparities after liver transplantation, which are unexplained by patient-level factors. We examined variation in between-center and within-center disparities among 34,114 Black and White liver transplant recipients in the United States from 2010 to 2017 using Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipient (SRTR) data. We used Cox proportional hazards models to calculate transplant center-specific Black–White hazard ratios and hierarchical survival analysis to examine potential effect modification of the race–survival association by transplant center characteristics, including transplant volume, proportion of Black patients, SRTR quality rating, and region. Models were sequentially adjusted for clinical, socioeconomic, and center characteristics. After adjustment, Black patients experienced 1.11 excess deaths after liver transplant per 100 person-years compared with White patients (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.65-1.56), corresponding to a 21% increased mortality risk (95% CI, 1.12-1.31). Although there was substantial variation in this disparity across transplant centers, there was no evidence of effect modification by transplant center volume, proportion of minority patients seen, quality rating, or region. We found significant racial disparities in survival after transplant, with substantial variation in this disparity across transplant centers that was not explained by selected center characteristics. This is the first study to directly evaluate the role transplant centers play in racial disparities in transplant outcomes. Further assessment of the qualitative factors that may drive disparities, such as selection processes and follow-up care, is needed to create effective center-level interventions to address health inequity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-567
Number of pages10
JournalLiver Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology
  • Transplantation


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