Centers Used Solely for Recovering Organs from Deceased Donors May Improve Efficiency and Costs of Transplantation

Published on 02/19/14

Free-standing organ recovery centers could markedly improve efficiency and reduce costs associated with deceased organ donation, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Transplantation. The study’s findings have major implications for cost containment and national policies related to organ transplantation.

Transplant surgeons have historically traveled to donor hospitals, where they perform complex, time-sensitive procedures with unfamiliar hospital staff. This often involves air travel and significant delays. In 2001, Mid-America Transplant Services in St. Louis established the nation’s first organ recovery center and began to move brain-dead donors to this free-standing facility. The facility is located only a couple of miles from both of the transplant centers in the organ procurement organization’s service area.

M.B. Majella Doyle, MD, of the Washington University School of Medicine, and her colleagues analyzed liver donors and recipients, donor costs, surgeon hours, and travel time associated with the 915 liver procurements that occurred in their center from April 2001 through December 2011. Among the major findings:

• In the first year, 36 percent (9/25) of organ recoveries occurred at the facility, rising to 93 percent (56/60) in the last year of analysis.
• Travel time was reduced from eight hours to 2.7 hours, with a reduction of surgeon fly outs by 93 percent (14/15) in 2011.
• Organ recovery costs were reduced by 37 percent at the facility compared with those at an acute care hospital, which indicates that transferring the donor to the facility early and performing all the investigations there saves money.

“The magnitude of these changes has been dramatic with no negative effects for the organ transplant process,” said Dr. Doyle. “The concept of moving brain-dead organ donors to a free-standing organ recovery center is one that we believe has great merit and should be considered on a regional basis across the United States and in other countries where solid organ transplantation occurs from deceased donors,” she added.
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Full citation:“A novel organ donor facility: A decade of experience with liver donors.” M.B. Majella Doyle, Neeta Vachharajani, Jason R. Wellen, Jeffrey A. Lowell, Surendra Shenoy, Gene Ridolfi, Martin D. Jendrisak, Jason Coleman, Molly Maher, Diane Brockmeier, Dean Kappel, and William C. Chapman. American Journal of Transplantation; Published Online: February 25, 2014 (DOI:10.1111/ajt.12607)
URL Upon Publication: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/ajt.12607

About the Author: To arrange an interview with the authors, please contact Judy Martin Finch, of Washington University’s public affairs office, at +1 (314) 286-0105 or martinju@wustl.edu.

About the Journal:
American Journal of Transplantation (AJT) is the official journal of the American Society of Transplantation (AST) and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS). This #1 ranked transplantation journal serves as a forum for debate and re-assessment and is a major new platform for promoting understanding, improving results and advancing science in this dynamic field. Published monthly, AJT provides an essential resource for researchers and clinicians around the world. AJT is now also accessible via its free mobile app for smartphones. The journal is published by Wiley. For more information, please visit www.amjtrans.com.

About Wiley
Wiley is a global provider of content-enabled solutions that improve outcomes in research, education, and professional practice. Our core businesses produce scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, reference works, books, database services, and advertising; professional books, subscription products, certification and training services and online applications; and education content and services including integrated online teaching and learning resources for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners.

Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE: JWa, JWb), has been a valued source of information and understanding for more than 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. Wiley and its acquired companies have published the works of more than 450 Nobel laureates in all categories: Literature, Economics, Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Peace. Wiley's global headquarters are located in Hoboken, New Jersey, with operations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. The Company's website can be accessed at http://www.wiley.com.

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