Your journey to organ transplantation will include many important decisions, including where to receive your transplant care. The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) is a critical resource that can empower your research into the various transplant centers that perform the type of transplant you need. Here are five things to know about using SRTR:
1. SRTR provides statistical analysis to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, and Department of Health and Human Service. The purpose of their reporting is to evaluate organ allocation and other OPTN policies, and assist in policy, performance metrics, economic analysis and preparation of special reports to Congress. SRTR data is publicly available and for anyone to use, including you.
2. SRTR data is released twice a year, in January and July. Program Summary Reports (PSR) are available on every transplant center in the United States. PSRs provide three main sections: program summary, waiting list information and transplant information. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the information the PSR contains. The key is to becoming savvy with what to look for.
3. The first key is to take notice of the PSR user guide and table of contents, which take up the first few pages of the report. The user guide will orient you to everything the report contains and the table of contents will tell you how to get there.
4. As you research a specific transplant center, look for their transplant rate. This is a measure of how frequently patients on a program’s waiting list undergo transplant. Programs with higher transplant rates tend to perform transplants more frequently than programs with lower transplant rates. The transplant rate is given as number of transplants per 100 patients listed per year. So a value of 20 means would mean for 100 patients listed for one year at this program, on the average 20 would be transplanted. As an example, we can look at the July 2017 kidney transplant PSR for Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester. On page 5, we see the transplant rate is 33.0 which is statistically better than the expected rate of 19.1.
5. Two other data points to look at are patient and graft survival. Patient survival is a measure of the likelihood that a patient will be alive at a certain time post-transplant. Graft survival is similar, but reports the likelihood that a patient will be alive with a functioning transplanted organ at a certain time post-transplant. We can look at the July 2017 liver transplant PSR for Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville as an example. On page 24, we see that 94.03% of patients are alive with a functioning graft one year after receiving a liver transplant. It’s important to look at the number below that, “Expected probability of surviving with a functioning graft at 1 year” because it takes into account the unique characteristics of that center’s transplant patients. You can see the expected survival rate with a functioning graft was 91.09%, so this transplant center performed well above the expected outcome. In fact, this outcome puts the liver transplant program at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Jacksonville in the top 4% of programs in the country.
There are countless other insights you can pull from SRTR PSR reports. We encourage you to explore!