Purpose of review
The development and implementation of ‘increased risk donor
’ (IRD) status by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was intended to guide patients and providers in decision making regarding risk of infectious transmission via solid organ transplantation. Several contemporary studies have shown underutilization of these organs. This review summarizes the issues surrounding IRD status as well as recent advances in our understanding of the risks and benefits of increased risk
organs and their appropriate utilization.
Risk of window-period infection remains exceedingly low, and implementation of nucleic acid testing for HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) has resulted in decreasing risk of window-period infection often by an order of magnitude or more. Surgeons remain hesitant to utilize IRD organs. In addition, surgeon assessment of risk by donor
behaviour was often discordant with known risks of those behaviours. Studies investigating outcomes of utilization of IRD organs suggest long-term mortality and graft survival is at least equivalent to non-IRD organs. Contemporary results suggest that IRD organs continue to be underutilized, particularly adult kidneys and lungs, with hundreds of wasted organs per year.
CDC IRD labelling has led to an underutilization of organs for transplantation. The risks associated with acceptance of an IRD organ are inflated by surgeons and patients, and outcomes for patients who undergo transplantation with increased risk
organs are similar to or better than those for patients whom accept standard risk organs. The rate of transmission of window-period infection from IRD organs is exceptionally low. The harms regarding the utility of Public Health Service increased risk
classification outweigh the benefits for patients in need of transplant.