The Financial Burden of Transplantation: A Single-Center Survey of Liver and Kidney Transplant Recipients

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Little is known about the financial impact of transplantation on patients and families. We interviewed 333 liver transplant (LT) and 318 kidney transplant (KT) recipients who were at least 1 year posttransplant. Patients were asked whether transplantation caused financial problems, whether income had changed since transplantation, what resources they used to pay for transplant-related expenses, and what their out-of-pocket monthly expenses were. Descriptive and comparative statistics, measures of association, and logistic regression analyses were calculated. Many patients reported financial problems secondary to transplantation (40.6%) and less monthly income now than in the year preceding transplantation (46.5%). Average monthly out-of-pocket expense was $476.60. LT recipients had higher out-of-pocket expenses than KT recipients (t=2.46, P=0.015). Patients used personal savings (53.9%) and credit cards (25.0%) to help offset these expenses, among other strategies. For both LT and KT recipients, older age, nonworking status before transplantation, and current nonworking status predicted greater financial impact, whereas younger age and current nonworking status predicted higher monthly out-of-pocket expenses. These findings highlight the potential financial impact of transplantation on patients and families, and they have implications for assisting patients in managing out-of-pocket expenses after transplantation.

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