Prevalence of frailty among kidney transplant candidates and recipients in the United States: Estimates from a National Registry and Multicenter Cohort Study

Christine E. Haugen, Alvin G. Thomas, Nadia M. Chu, Ashton A. Shaffer, Silas P. Norman, Adam W. Bingaman, Dorry L. Segev, Mara McAdams-DeMarco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Frailty, a measure of physiologic reserve, is associated with poor outcomes and mortality among kidney transplant (KT) candidates and recipients. There are no national estimates of frailty in this population, which may help patient counseling and resource allocation at transplant centers. We studied 4616 KT candidates and 1763 recipients in our multicenter prospective cohort of frailty from 2008-2018 with Fried frailty measurements. Using Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) data (KT candidates = 560 143 and recipients = 243 508), we projected the national prevalence of frailty (for KT candidates and recipients separately) using standardization through inverse probability weighting, accounting for candidate/recipient, donor, and transplant factors. In our multicenter cohort, 13.3% of KT candidates were frail at evaluation; 8.2% of LDKT recipients and 17.8% of DDKT recipients were frail at transplantation. Projected nationally, our modeling strategy estimated 91 738 KT candidates or 16.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] 14.4%-18.4%) of all KT candidates during the study period were frail, and that 34 822 KT recipients or 14.3% (95% CI 12.3%-16.3%) of all KT recipients were frail (LDKT = 8.2%; DDKT = 17.8%). Given the estimated national prevalence of frailty, transplant programs should consider assessing the condition during KT evaluation to improve patient counseling and resource allocation along with identification of recipients at risk for poor outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



  • clinical research/practice
  • kidney transplantation/nephrology
  • registry/registry analysis
  • Scientific Registry for Transplant Recipients (SRTR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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