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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Federal Standard May Be Thwarting Some Liver Transplant Patients

WMOT | Michelle Andrews
Did revised federal standards make transplant centers more averse to risk and encourage them to drop sicker patients who might affect the hospitals' patient survival rates?
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For the roughly 15,000 people who need a liver transplant, it's a waiting game. With demand for donated livers far outstripping supply, patients may spend months or years on a transplant waitlist, their position in the line gradually improving as they get sicker.

A recent study suggests that this system may be changing but not necessarily for the better.

In an effort to get or keep a good performance rating from the federal government, transplant centers have been labeling some patients "too sick to transplant" and dropping from the waitlist some who may been viable candidates, the researchers found. In addition, despite removing more sick patients from the waiting list, one-year survival rates for patients who received transplants didn't improve.

The findings, published online in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons in April, examined trends in so-called delisting at 102 liver transplant centers, including 90,765 waitlisted adults who died, between 2002 and 2012. Continue reading
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