NYMC Faculty Publications

Solid Organ Transplantation From COVID Positive Donors in the United States: Analysis of United Network for Organ Sharing Database

Author Type(s)

Faculty, Resident/Fellow

Journal Title

Transplant Infectious Disease

First Page


Document Type


Publication Date




Second Department



BACKGROUND: Significant uncertainties remain regarding the utilization of organs for solid organ transplantation (SOT) from donors with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The aim of this study was to assess the trends in utilization of organs from donors with COVID-19 and their short-term outcomes. METHODS: Deceased donors between March 2020 and December 2021 with a positive COVID nucleic acid test from respiratory tract within 14 days of transplantation were analyzed using the de-identified United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database. Donor and recipient characteristics of COVID-19 positive (COVID+) organs were compared to COVID-19 negative (COVID-) organs during this period. We analyzed the trends in the utilization of SOT from COVID+ donors across the United States, donor characteristics, and the quality of donor organ and recipient outcomes (length of hospitalization, rates of organ rejection, delayed graft function, 30-day graft/patient survival). RESULTS: During the study period, 193 COVID+ donors led to the transplantation of 281-kidneys, 106-livers, and 36-hearts in 414 adult recipients. COVID+ patients donated a median of two organs. These donors were younger and had a lower median Kidney Donor Profile Index (0.37 vs. 0.50, p < .001), lower median serum creatinine (0.8 vs. 1.0 mg/dl, p = .003), similar median serum total bilirubin (0.6 mg/dl, p = .46), and similar left ventricular ejection fraction (60%, p = .84) when compared to COVID- donors. Short-term outcomes, including 30-day graft/patient survival, were similar in both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Analysis of short-term outcomes from the UNOS database indicates that a positive COVID test in an otherwise medically suitable donor should not preclude consideration of non-lung solid organ transplantation.