Rationing Lung Transplants - Procedural Fairness in Allocation and Appeals
From the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Lab for Research on Ethics, Aging, and Community Health (REACH Lab), Tufts University, Medford, MA (K.L.)New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 55.87). 07/2013; 369(7). DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1307792
Organ transplantation requires explicit rationing and relies on public trust and altruism to sustain the organ supply. The well-publicized cases of two pediatric candidates for lung transplants have shaken the transplant community with emergency legal injunctions arguing that current lung-allocation policy is "arbitrary and capricious." Although the resulting transplantation seemingly provided an uplifting conclusion to an emotional public debate, this precedent may open the floodgates to litigation from patients seeking to improve their chances of obtaining organs. These cases questioned the potential disadvantaging of children and the procedural fairness in lung allocation. But legal appeals exacerbate inequities and undercut public . . .
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ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to assess performance of the new lung allocation system in Germany based on lung allocation score (LAS). Retrospective analysis of waitlist (WL) outflow, lung transplantation (LTx) activity and 3-month outcomes comparing 1-year pre- and post-LAS introduction on December 10, 2011 was performed. Following LAS introduction, WL registrations remained constant, while WL mortality fell by 23% (p = 0.04). Reductions in WL mortality occurred in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF; −52%), emphysema (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]; −49%) and pulmonary hypertension (PH; −67%), but not idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF; +48%). LTx activity increased by 9% (p = 0.146). Compared to pre-LAS, more patients with IPF (32% vs. 29%) and CF (20% vs. 18%) underwent transplantation and comparatively fewer with COPD (30% vs. 39%). Median LAS among transplant recipients was highest in PH (53) and IPF (49) and lowest in COPD (34). Transplantation under invasive respiratory support increased to 13% (in CF 28%, +85%, p = 0.017). Three-month survival remained unchanged (pre: 96.1% and post: 94.9%, p = 0.94). Following LAS implementation in Germany, reductions in waiting list size and WL mortality were observed. Composition of transplant recipients changed, with fewer COPD and more IPF recipients. Transplantation under invasive respiratory support increased. Reductions in WL mortality were most pronounced among CF and PH patients.American Journal of Transplantation 06/2014; 14(6). DOI:10.1111/ajt.12752 · 5.68 Impact Factor
Article: Was Sarah Murnaghan Treated Justly?[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Lung transplantation is a potentially life-saving procedure for patients with irreversible lung failure. Five-year survival rates after lung transplantation are >50% for children and young adults. But there are not enough lungs to save everyone who could benefit. In 2005, the United Network for Organ Sharing developed a scoring system to prioritize patients for transplantation. That system considered transplant urgency as well as time on the waiting list and the likelihood that the patient would benefit from the transplant. At the time, there were so few pediatric lung transplants that the data that were used to develop the Lung Allocation Score were inadequate to analyze and prioritize children, so they were left out of the Lung Allocation Score system. In 2013, the family of a 10-year-old challenged this system, claiming that it was unjust to children. In the article, we asked experts in health policy, bioethics, and transplantation to discuss the issues in the Murnaghan case.Pediatrics 06/2014; 134(1). DOI:10.1542/peds.2013-4189 · 5.47 Impact Factor
Article: Update in Lung Transplantation 2013[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Research in pulmonary transplantation is actively evolving in quality and scope to meet the challenges of a growing population of lung allograft recipients. In 2013, research groups leveraged large publicly available datasets in addition to multicenter research networks and single-center studies to make significant contributions to our knowledge and clinical care in the areas of donor use, clinical transplant outcomes, mechanisms of rejection, infectious complications, and chronic allograft dysfunction.American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 07/2014; 190(1):19-24. DOI:10.1164/rccm.201402-0384UP · 13.00 Impact Factor
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