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Impact of Rural Residence on Kidney Transplant Rates Among Waitlisted Candidates in the VA Transplant Programs.

O'Shea AMJ, Franciscus CL, Kaboli PJ, Kalil RS. Impact of Rural Residence on Kidney Transplant Rates Among Waitlisted Candidates in the VA Transplant Programs. Transplantation. 2019 Sep 1; 103(9):1945-1952.

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BACKGROUND: Although proportionally more veterans live in rural areas compared to nonveterans, the impact of rurality status on kidney transplantation (KTP) access among veterans is unknown. Our objective was to study KTP rates among veterans listed for KTP and to compare the impact of rurality status on KTP rates among veterans and nonveterans. METHODS: Retrospective cohort study of adult patients waitlisted per the United Network for Organ Sharing from January 2000 to December 2014. Patient characteristics were compared using Chi-square or t tests, as appropriate, by veteran status and patient rurality. Multivariable competing-risks Cox regression was performed. RESULTS: The study sample included 3281 veterans receiving care in Veteran Health Administration transplant programs and 445?177 nonveterans. Veterans, compared to nonveterans, were older (57 versus 50 y; P < 0.001), more likely to be male (96% versus 60%; P < 0.001) or diabetic at waitlisting (51% versus 41%; P < 0.001), and less likely be an urban resident (79% versus 84%; P < 0.001). Among veterans, dialysis duration prior to registration was longer among urban compared to all other rurality types (810 ± 22.1 d versus 632 to 702 ± 41.6 to 77.6 d; P = 0.02). In multivariate competing risks models, there was no evidence that the hazard of transplant among veterans differs by residential rurality. CONCLUSIONS: Among waitlisted veterans served by Veteran Health Administration transplant programs, residential rurality status does not portend longer waiting time for KTP.

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