Medical Contraindications to Transplant Listing in the USA: A Survey of Adult and Pediatric Heart, Kidney, Liver, and Lung Programs

World J Surg. 2019 Sep;43(9):2300-2308. doi: 10.1007/s00268-019-05030-x.

Abstract

Introduction: Listing practices for solid organ transplantation are variable across programs in the USA. To better characterize this variability, we performed a survey of psychosocial listing criteria for pediatric and adult heart, lung, liver, and kidney programs in the USA. In this manuscript, we report our results regarding listing practices with respect to obesity, advanced age, and HIV seropositivity.

Methods: We performed an online, forced-choice survey of adult and pediatric heart, kidney, liver, and lung transplant programs in the USA.

Results: Of 650 programs contacted, 343 submitted complete responses (response rate = 52.8%). Most programs have absolute contraindications to listing for BMI > 45 (adult: 67.5%; pediatric: 88.0%) and age > 80 (adult: 55.4%; pediatric: not relevant). Only 29.5% of adult programs and 25.7% of pediatric programs consider HIV seropositivity an absolute contraindication to listing. We found that there is variation in absolute contraindications to listing in adult programs among organ types for BMI > 45 (heart 89.8%, lung 92.3%, liver 49.1%, kidney 71.9%), age > 80 (heart 83.7%, lung 76.9%, liver 68.4%, kidney 29.2%), and HIV seropositivity (heart 30.6%, lung 59.0%, kidney 16.9%, liver 28.1%).

Conclusions: We argue that variability in listing enhances access to transplantation for potential recipients who have the ability to pursue workup at different centers by allowing different programs to have different risk thresholds. Programs should remain independent in listing practices, but because these practices differ, we recommend transparency in listing policies and informing patients of reasons for listing denial and alternative opportunities to seek listing at another program.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Contraindications*
  • Female
  • Heart Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Lung Transplantation
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Transplantation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Waiting Lists*
  • Young Adult