The impact of broader regional sharing of livers: 2-year results of “Share 35”

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In June of 2013, the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) implemented regional sharing for Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD)/Pediatric End-Stage Liver Disease (PELD) candidates with scores reaching 35 and above (“Share 35”). The goal of this distribution change was to increase access to lifesaving transplants for the sickest candidates with chronic liver disease and to reduce the waiting-list mortality for this medically urgent group of patients. To assess the impact of this change, we compared results before and after policy implementation at 2 years. Overall, there were more liver transplants performed under Share 35 and a greater percentage of MELD/PELD 35+ candidates underwent transplantation; waiting-list mortality rates in this group were also significantly lower in the post-policy period. Overall adjusted waiting-list mortality was decreased slightly, with no significant changes in mortality by age group or ethnicity. Posttransplant graft and patient survival was unchanged overall and was unchanged for the MELD/PELD 35+ recipients. In conclusion, these data demonstrate that the Share 35 policy achieved its goal of increasing access to transplants for these medically urgent patients without reducing access to liver transplants for pediatric and minority candidates. Although the variance in the median MELD at transplant as well as the variance in transport distance increased, there was a decrease in overall liver discard rates and no change in overall cold ischemia times following broader sharing of these organs. The OPTN will continue to monitor this policy, particularly for longer-term posttransplant survival outcomes.Liver Transplantation 22 399–409 2016AASLD

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