Predicting Kidney Discard Using Machine Learning

Masoud Barah, Sanjay Mehrotra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background. Despite the kidney supply shortage, 18%-20% of deceased donor kidneys are discarded annually in the United States. In 2018, 3569 kidneys were discarded. Methods. We compared machine learning (ML) techniques to identify kidneys at risk of discard at the time of match run and after biopsy and machine perfusion results become available. The cohort consisted of adult deceased donor kidneys donated between December 4, 2014, and July 1, 2019. The studied ML models included Random Forests (RF), Adaptive Boosting (AdaBoost), Neural Networks (NNet), Support Vector Machines (SVM), and K-nearest Neighbors (KNN). In addition, a Logistic Regression (LR) model was fitted and used for comparison with the ML models' performance. Results. RF outperformed other ML models. Of 8036 discarded kidneys in the test dataset, LR correctly classified 3422 kidneys, whereas RF correctly classified 4762 kidneys (area under the receiver operative curve [AUC]: 0.85 versus 0.888, and balanced accuracy: 0.681 versus 0.759). For the kidneys with kidney donor profile index of >85% (6079 total), RF significantly outperformed LR in classifying discard and transplant prediction (AUC: 0.814 versus 0.717, and balanced accuracy: 0.732 versus 0.657). More than 388 kidneys were correctly classified using RF. Including biopsy and machine perfusion variables improved the performance of LR and RF (LR's AUC: 0.888 and balanced accuracy: 0.74 versus RF's AUC: 0.904 and balanced accuracy: 0.775). Conclusions. Kidneys that are at risk of discard can be more accurately identified using ML techniques such as RF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2054-2071
Number of pages18
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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