Too Aggressive or Not Aggressive Enough? Should a Metric Change Center Practice?

Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.
American Journal of Transplantation (Impact Factor: 5.68). 04/2013; 13(4):837-8. DOI: 10.1111/ajt.12152
Source: PubMed
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Available from: Jennifer C Lai, Jun 24, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Once a liver offer has been refused locally and regionally, it is offered nationally. We characterized nationally (n = 1567) versus locally (n = 19 893) placed grafts from adult, nonfulminant, deceased donor liver transplants (LT) from 2/1/05 to 1/31/10. Donors of nationally versus locally placed livers differed by age (50 vs. 42 years), positive HCV antibody (11 vs. 2%) and death from stroke (51 vs. 42%) (p < 0.001 for all). Recipients of nationally versus locally placed livers differed by LT-MELD (20 vs. 24), rates of ascites (35 vs. 37%), encephalopathy (12 vs. 15%), hepatocellular (17 vs. 24%) and nonhepatocellular exceptions (6 vs. 11%) (p ≤ 0.03 for all). Six (5%) centers utilized 64% of the nationally placed grafts while 43 (38%) centers accepted zero during the 5-year period; all high volume centers used ≥1. Compared to local distribution, transplantation with a nationally placed liver was associated with a similar adjusted risk of graft (HR, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.86-1.14) and patient (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.84-1.14; p = 0.77) survival. In conclusion, utilization of nationally placed livers is highly concentrated in very few centers, with no increased adjusted risk of graft loss. These findings provide the foundation for a more informed discussion about changing our current liver allocation and distribution policies.
    American Journal of Transplantation 02/2012; 12(4):947-53. DOI:10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03962.x · 5.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Organ shortage has led to increased utilization of higher risk liver allografts. In kidneys, aggressive center-level use of one type of higher risk graft clustered with aggressive use of other types. In this study, we explored center-level behavior in liver utilization. We aggregated national liver transplant recipient data between 2005 and 2009 to the center-level, assigning each center an aggressiveness score based on relative utilization of higher risk livers. Aggressive centers had significantly more patients reaching high MELDs (RR 2.19, 2.33 and 2.28 for number of patients reaching MELD > 20, MELD > 25 and MELD > 30, p < 0.001), a higher organ shortage ratio (RR 1.51, 1.60 and 1.51 for number of patients reaching MELD > 20, MELD > 25 and MELD > 30 divided by number of organs recovered at the OPO, p < 0.04), and were clustered within various geographic regions, particularly regions 2, 3 and 9. Median MELD at transplant was similar between aggressive and nonaggressive centers, but average annual transplant volume was significantly higher at aggressive centers (RR 2.27, 95% CI 1.47-3.51, p < 0.001). In cluster analysis, there were no obvious phenotypic patterns among centers with intermediate levels of aggressiveness. In conclusion, highwaitlist disease severity, geographic differences in organ availability, and transplant volume are the main factors associated with the aggressive utilization of higher risk livers.
    American Journal of Transplantation 02/2013; 13(4). DOI:10.1111/ajt.12151 · 5.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the United States, livers for transplantation are distributed within donation service areas (DSAs). In DSAs with multiple transplant centers, competition among centers for organs and recipients may affect recipient selection and outcomes in comparison with DSAs with only 1 center. The objective of this study was to determine whether competition within a DSA is associated with posttransplant outcomes and variations in patients wait‐listed within the DSA. United Network for Organ Sharing data for 38,385 adult cadaveric liver transplant recipients undergoing transplantation between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2009 were analyzed to assess differences in liver recipients and donors and in posttransplant survival by competition among centers. The main outcome measures that were studied were patient characteristics, actual and risk‐adjusted graft and patient survival rates after transplantation, organ quality as quantified by the donor risk index (DRI), wait‐listed patients per million population by DSA, and competition as quantified by the Hirschman‐Herfindahl index (HHI). Centers were stratified by HHI levels as no competition or as low, medium (or mid), or high competition. In comparison with DSAs without competition, the low‐, mid‐, and high‐competition DSAs (1) performed transplantation for patients with a higher risk of graft failure [hazard ratio (HR) = 1.24, HR = 1.26, and HR = 1.34 (P P P P ≤ 0.001 for each)], and (3) listed more patients per million population [18 (median) versus 34 (P = not significant), 37 (P = 0.005), and 45 (P = 0.0075)]. Significant variability in patient selection for transplantation is associated with market variables characterizing competition among centers. These findings suggest both positive and negative effects of competition among health care providers. Liver Transpl 19:96–104, 2013. © 2012 AASLD.
    Liver Transplantation 01/2013; 19(1). DOI:10.1002/lt.23561 · 4.24 Impact Factor

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