Modeling the economic benefit of targeted mild hypothermia in deceased donor kidney transplantation

Clin Transplant. 2019 Jul;33(7):e13626. doi: 10.1111/ctr.13626.


Delayed graft function (DGF) in kidney transplant significantly increases inpatient and outpatient cost. Targeted, mild hypothermia in organ donors after neurologic determination of death significantly reduced the rate of DGF in a recent randomized controlled clinical trial. To assess the potential economic benefit of national implementation of donor hypothermia, rates of reduction DGF were combined with estimates of the impact of DGF on hospital cost and total health expenditure for standard and extended criteria donor organs (SCD and ECD). DGF increases the cost of the transplant episode by $9487 for ECD transplant and $10 342 for SCD transplant. Medicare recipients with DGF incur an additional $18 513 spending for ECD and $14 948 in SCD transplants over the first year. An absolute reduction in DGF rate after kidney transplantation consistent with trial results (ECD 25%, SCD 7%) has the potential to lower annual hospital cost for kidney transplant by $13 178 746 and annual Medicare spending by $20 970 706 compared to standard donor management practice using static cold storage. Targeted mild hypothermia improves care of renal transplant patients by safely reducing DGF rates in both ECD and SCD transplant. Broader application of this safe, effective, and low-cost intervention could reduce healthcare expenditures for providers and insurers.

Trial registration: NCT01680744.

Keywords: cost; deceased organ donors; donor management; hypothermia.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Death*
  • Delayed Graft Function / economics*
  • Delayed Graft Function / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Expenditures
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia*
  • Kidney Transplantation / economics*
  • Kidney Transplantation / methods*
  • Male
  • Models, Economic
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function
  • Tissue Donors / supply & distribution*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / economics*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / standards
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data