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Am J Med. 1999 Jul;107(1):52-61.

Evidence-based organ allocation.

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  • 1Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, CA, USA.



There are not enough cadaveric kidneys to meet the demands of transplant candidates. The equity and efficiency of alternative organ allocation strategies have not been rigorously compared.


We developed a five-compartment Monte Carlo simulation model to compare alternative organ allocation strategies, accommodating dynamic changes in recipient and donor characteristics, patient and graft survival rates, and quality of life. The model simulated the operations of a single organ procurement organization and attempted to predict the evolution of the transplant waiting list for 10 years. Four allocation strategies were compared: a first-come first-transplanted system; a point system currently utilized by the United Network of Organ Sharing; an efficiency-based algorithm that incorporated correlates of patient and graft survival; and a distributive efficiency algorithm, which had an additional goal of promoting equitable allocation among African-American and other candidates.


A 10-year computer simulation was performed. The distributive efficiency policy was associated with a 3.5%+/-0.8% (mean +/- SD) increase in quality-adjusted life expectancy (33.9 months vs 32.7 months), a decrease in the median waiting time to transplantation among those who were transplanted (6.6 months vs 16.3 months), and an increase in the overall likelihood of transplantation (61% vs 45%), compared with the United Network of Organ Sharing algorithm. Improved equity and efficiency were also seen by race (African-American vs other), sex, and age (<50 or > or =50 years). Sensitivity analyses did not appreciably change the qualitative results.


Evidence-based organ allocation strategies in cadaveric kidney transplantation would yield improved equity and efficiency measures compared with existing algorithms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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