Center-Specific Graft and Patient Survival Rates: 1997 United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) Report

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Multiple comprehensive, risk-adjusted studies evaluating short-term surgical mortality have been reported previously. This report analyzes short-term and long-term outcomes, both nationally and at each individual transplant program, for all solid organ transplantations performed in the United States.


To report graft and patient survival rates for all solid organ transplantations, both nationally and at each specific transplant program in the United States, and to compare the expected survival rate with the actual survival rate of each individual program.


A cohort of 97 587 solid organ transplantations performed on 92 966 recipients in the United States from January 1988 through April 1994.

Main Outcome Measures

Short-term and conditional 3-year national and individual transplant program graft and patient survival rates overall and from 2 separate eras (era 1, January 1988-April 1992; era 2, May 1992-April 1994); comparison of actual center-specific performance with risk-adjusted expected performance and identification of centers with better-than-expected or worse-than-expected survival rates.


One-year graft follow-up exceeded 98% and conditional 3-year follow-up exceeded 91% for all organs. Graft and patient survival improved significantly in era 2 compared with era 1 for all cadaver organs except heart, which remained the same. One-year cadaveric graft survival ranged from 81.5% for heart to 61.9% for heart-lung and 3-year conditional graft survival ranged from 91.3% for pancreas to 74.7% for lung. The percentage of programs whose actual 1-year graft survival was not different from or was better than their risk-adjusted expected survival ranged from 98.3% for heart-lung to 75.7% for liver. Most kidney, liver, and heart programs whose actual survival was significantly less than expected performed small numbers (less than the national average) of transplantations per year.


Graft and patient survival for solid organ transplantations showed improvement over time. Conditional 3-year graft and patient survival rates were approximately 90% for all organs except for lung and heart-lung. The conditional 3-year survival rates were better than 1-year survival rates, indicating the major risk after transplantation occurs in the first year. The majority of transplant programs achieved actual survival rates not significantly different from their expected survival rates. Center effects were most significant within the first year after transplantation and had much less influence on long-term survival outcomes.

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