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Am J Transplant. 2001 Nov;1(4):360-5.

The economic impact of preservation time in cadaveric liver transplantation.

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  • 1Pharmaco-economic Transplant Research, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA.


There has been considerable recent debate concerning the reconfiguration of the cadaveric liver allocation system with the intent to allocate livers to more severely ill patients over greater distances. We sought to assess the economic implications of longer preservation times in cadaveric liver transplantation that may be seen in a restructured allocation system. A total of 683 patients with nonfulminant liver disease, aged 16 years or older, receiving a cadaveric donor liver as their only transplant, were drawn from a prospective cohort of patients who received transplants between January 1991 and July 1994 at the University of California, San Francisco, the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, or the University of Nebraska, Omaha. The primary outcome measure was standardized hospitalization resource utilization from the day of transplantation through discharge. Secondary outcome measures included 2-year patient survival, and 2-year retransplantation rates. Results indicated that each 1-h increase in preservation time was associated with a 1.4% increase in standardized hospital resource utilization (p = 0.014). The effects on 2-year patient survival and retransplantation rates were not measurably affected by an increase in preservation time. We conclude that policies that increase preservation time may be expected to increase the cost of liver transplantation.

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