Disparities in access to liver transplantation in Spain

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Background.The maintenance of an equitable system for access to transplantation is a matter of concern to all professionals involved in this field. Any national system must ensure equity.Methods.The rates of indication for liver transplantation have been reviewed for all Spanish regions. The time to transplantation was evaluated with respect to different recipient characteristics and donor rates. The indication rates for liver transplantation are similar in the different countries with liver transplant programs but are far from similar among different regions in Spain. This suggests that there is not equity in the access to liver transplantation.Results.A review of the factors affecting the waiting times to transplantation after being registered for the waiting list shows that some groups of patients are currently waiting less time than others. Shorter waiting times occur in patients of the AB group, children, patients with hepatocarcinoma, and patients living in the zone of Valencia, despite similar organ donation rates in all transplant zones.Conclusion.Neither the rate nor the probability of liver transplantation is affected exclusively by the organ donation rate in Spain but also depends on the number of patients admitted to the waiting list. Despite the existence of an organ allocation system that is center-oriented, liver patients are receiving grafts mainly based on the severity of the illness, because clearance rates from the waiting list of both dead patients and grafted patients are the same.

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