Cost-effectiveness of using kidneys from hepatitis C nucleic acid test-positive donors for transplantation in hepatitis C-negative recipients

Am J Transplant. 2018 Oct;18(10):2457-2464. doi: 10.1111/ajt.14929. Epub 2018 Jun 14.


Kidneys from deceased donors who are hepatitis C virus (HCV) nucleic acid test positive are infrequently used for transplantation in HCV-negative patients due to concerns about disease transmission. With the development of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) for HCV, there is now potential to use these kidneys in HCV-negative candidates. However, the high cost of DAAs poses a challenge to adoption of this strategy. We created a Markov model to examine the cost-effectiveness of using deceased donors infected with HCV for kidney transplantation in uninfected waitlist candidates. In the primary analysis, this strategy was cost saving and improved health outcomes compared to remaining on the waitlist for an additional 2 or more years to receive a HCV-negative transplant. The strategy was also cost-effective with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $56 018 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) from the payer perspective, and $4647 per QALY from the societal perspective, compared to remaining on the waitlist for 1 additional year. The results were consistent in 1-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. We conclude that the use of kidneys from deceased donors with HCV infection is likely to lead to improved clinical outcomes at reduced cost for HCV-negative transplant candidates.

Keywords: business/management; donors and donation: donor-derived infections; economics; health services and outcomes research; infection and infectious agents - viral: hepatitis C; infectious disease; kidney transplantation/nephrology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis*
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepacivirus / genetics*
  • Hepatitis C / drug therapy
  • Hepatitis C / economics*
  • Hepatitis C / transmission
  • Hepatitis C / virology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / economics*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation / economics*
  • Male
  • Markov Chains
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleic Acids / analysis*
  • Prognosis
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Tissue Donors / supply & distribution
  • Waiting Lists / mortality*
  • Young Adult


  • Antiviral Agents
  • DNA, Viral
  • Nucleic Acids

Grant support