Post-transplant outcomes and financial burden of donation after circulatory death donor liver transplant after the implementation of acuity circle policy

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Clinical transplantation


BACKGROUND: After implementation of the Acuity Circles (AC) allocation policy, use of DCD liver grafts has increased in the United States.

METHODS: We evaluated the impact of AC on rates of DCD-liver transplants (LT), their outcomes, and medical costs in a single practice. Adult LT patients were classified into three eras: Era 1 (pre-AC, 1/01/2015-12/31/2017); Era 2 (late pre-AC era, 1/01/2018-02/03/2020); and Era 3 (AC era, 05/10/2020-09/30/2021).

RESULTS: A total of 520 eligible LTs were performed; 87 were DCD, and 433 were DBD. With each successive era, the proportion of DCD increased (Era 1: 11%; Era 2: 20%; Era 3: 24%; p < .001). DCD recipients had longer ICU stays, higher re-admission/re-operation rates, and higher incidence of ischemic cholangiopathy compared to those with DBD. Direct, surgical, and ICU costs during first admission were higher with DCD than DBD (+8.0%, p < .001; +4.2%, p < .001; and +33.3%, p = .001). DCD-related costs increased after Era 1 (Direct: +4.9% [Era 2 vs. 1] and +12.4% [Era 3 vs. 1], p = .04; Surgical: +17.7% and +21.7%, p < .001). In the AC era, there was a significantly higher proportion of donors ≥50 years, and more national organ sharing. Compared to DCD from donors <50 years, DCD from donors ≥50 years was associated with significantly higher total direct, surgical, and ICU costs (+12.6%, p = .01; +9.5%, p = .01; +84.6%, p = .03).

CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of DCD-LT, especially from older donors, has increased after the implementation of AC policies. These changes are likely to be associated with higher costs in the AC era.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Humans; Liver Transplantation; Financial Stress; Graft Survival; Living Donors; Tissue Donors; Cardiovascular System; Retrospective Studies; Tissue and Organ Procurement; Death; Brain Death

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ePub ahead of print





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