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Overly Selective Offer Acceptance is Associated With High Waitlist Mortality for the Most Ill Lung Transplant Candidates

Published:November 07, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.semtcvs.2022.11.001
      The demand for organs for lung transplantation (LTx) continues to outweigh supply. However, nearly 75% of donor lungs are never transplanted. LTx offer acceptance practices and the effects on waitlist/post-transplant outcomes by candidate clinical acuity are understudied. UNOS was used to identify all LTx candidates, donors, and offers from 2005 to 2019. Candidates were grouped by Lung Allocation Score (LAS; applicable post-2005, ages ≥12 years): LAS<40, 40–60, 61–80, and >80. Offer acceptance patterns, waitlist death/decompensation, and post-transplant survival (PTS) were compared. “Acceptable organ offers” were those from donors whose organs were accepted for transplantation. Approximately 3 million offers to 34,531 candidates were reviewed. Median waitlist durations were: 9 days-(LAS>80), 17 days-(LAS 61–80), 42 days-(LAS 40–60), 125 days-(LAS<40) (P < 0.001 between all). Per waitlist-day, offer rates were: total offers – 0.8/day-(LAS>80), 0.7/day-(LAS 61–80), 0.6/day-(LAS 40–60), 0.4/day-(LAS<40); acceptable offers – 0.34/day-(LAS>80), 0.32/day-(LAS 61–80), 0.24/day-(LAS 40–60), 0.15/day-(LAS<40) (both P < 0.001 between all LAS). Among patients who experienced waitlist mortality/decompensation, ≥1 acceptable offer was declined in 92% (3939/4270) of patients – 78% for LAS >80, 88% for LAS 61–80, 93% for LAS 40–60, and 96% for LAS <40. Thirty-day waitlist mortality/decompensation rates were: 46%-(LAS>80), 24%-(LAS 61–80), 5%-(LAS 40–60), <1%-(LAS<40) (P < 0.001 between all). PTS was equivalent between patients for whom the first/second offer vs later offers were accepted (all LAS P > 0.4). The first offers that LTx candidates receive (including acceptable organs) are declined for nearly all candidates. Healthier candidates can afford offer selectivity but more ill patients (LAS>60) cannot, experiencing exceedingly high 30-day waitlist mortality.

      Graphical Abstract

      Keywords

      Abbreviations:

      COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), IQR (interquartile range), LAS (lung allocation score), LVEF (left ventricular ejection fraction), PTR (Potential Transplant Recipient), UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing)
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