The economic implications of broader sharing of liver allografts

D. A. Axelrod, A. Gheorghian, M. A. Schnitzler, N. Dzebisashvili, P. R. Salvalaggio, J. Tuttle-Newhall, D. L. Segev, S. Gentry, S. Hohmann, R. M. Merion, K. L. Lentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Liver transplantation has evolved over the past four decades into the most effective method to treat end-stage liver failure and one of the most expensive medical technologies available. Accurate understanding of the financial implication of recipient severity of illness is crucial to assessing the economic impact of allocation policies. A novel database of linked clinical data from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network with cost accounting data from the University HealthSystem Consortium was used to analyze liver transplant costs for 15 813 liver transplants. This data was then utilized to consider the economic impact of alternative allocation systems designed to increase sharing of liver allografts using simulation results. Transplant costs were strongly associated with recipient severity of illness as assessed by the MELD score (p < 0.0001); however, this relationship was not linear. Simulation analysis of the reallocation of livers from low MELD patients to high MELD using a two-tiered regional sharing approach (MELD 15/25) resulted in 88 fewer deaths annually at estimated cost of $17 056 per quality-adjusted life-year saved. The results suggest that broader sharing of liver allografts offers a cost-effective strategy to reduce the mortality from end stage liver disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-807
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cost effectiveness
  • healthcare costs
  • liver transplantation
  • model for end-stage liver disease
  • organ allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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