Cohort Study

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery


May 30, 2020

Analysis of the revised heart allocation policy and the influence of increased mechanical circulatory support on survival

Elde, S., He, H., Lingala, B., Baiocchi, M., Wang, H., Hiesinger, W., MacArthur, J. W., Shudo, Y., Woo, Y. J.

OBJECTIVES: In 2018, the new United Network for Organ Sharing heart allocation policy took effect. This study evaluated waitlist mortality, mechanical circulatory support utilization, and its influence on posttransplant survival. METHODS: Two 12-month cohorts matched for time of year before and after the policy change were defined by inclusion criteria of first-time transplant recipients aged 18years or older who were listed and underwent transplant during the same era. Student t test and Wilcoxon rank-sum test were used for mean and median differences, respectively. Categorical variables were compared using chi2 or Fisher exact test. Kaplan-Meier curves were used to characterize survival, including time-to-event analysis with the log-rank test. Fine-Gray modeling was used to characterize waitlist mortality. Cox proportional-hazard models were used for multivariate analysis. RESULTS: Waitlist mortality in the new era is significantly improved based on a competing-risks model (Gray test P=.0064). Unadjusted 180-day posttransplant mortality increased from 5.8% during the old era to 8.0% during the new (P=.0134). However, time-to-event analysis showed similar 180-day survival in both eras. After risk adjustment, the hazard ratio for posttransplant 180-day mortality during the new era was 1.18 (95% CI, 0.85-1.64; P=.333). The posttransplant 180-day mortality of the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation bridge-to-transplant subgroup improved from 28.6% in the old era to 8.4% in the new era (P=.0103; log-rank P=.0021). Patients with an intra-aortic balloon pump at the time of transplant had similar 180-day posttransplant mortality between eras (5.4% vs 7.0%; P=.4831). CONCLUSIONS: The United Network for Organ Sharing policy change is associated with reduced waitlist mortality and similar risk adjusted posttransplant 180-day mortality. The new era is also associated with improved 180-day survival in patientsundergoing bridge to transplant with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

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