Acuity circles (AC), the new liver allocation system, was implemented on February 4, 2020. Difference-in-differences analyses estimated the effect of AC on adjusted deceased donor transplant and offer rates across Pediatric End-Stage Liver Disease (PELD) and Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) categories and types of exception statuses. The offer rates were the number of first offers, top 5 offers, and top 10 offers on the match run per person-year. Each analysis adjusted for candidate characteristics and only used active candidate time on the waiting list. The before-AC period was February 4, 2019, to February 3, 2020, and the after-AC period was February 4, 2020, to February 3, 2021. Candidates with PELD/MELD scores 29 to 32 and PELD/MELD scores 33 to 36 had higher transplant rates than candidates with PELD/MELD scores 15 to 28 after AC compared with before AC (transplant rate ratios: PELD/MELD scores 29-32, 2.34 3.324.71 ; PELD/MELD scores 33-36, 1.70 2.513.71 ). Candidates with PELD/MELD scores 29 or higher had higher offer rates than candidates with PELD/MELD scores 15 to 28, and candidates with PELD/MELD scores 29 to 32 had the largest difference (offer rate ratios [ORR]: first offers, 2.77 3.955.63 ; top 5 offers, 3.90 4.394.95 ; top 10 offers, 4.85 5.305.80 ). Candidates with exceptions had lower offer rates than candidates without exceptions for offers in the top 5 (ORR: hepatocellular carcinoma [HCC], 0.68 0.770.88 ; non-HCC, 0.73 0.810.89 ) and top 10 (ORR: HCC, 0.59 0.650.71 ; non-HCC, 0.69 0.750.81 ). Recipients with PELD/MELD scores 15 to 28 and an HCC exception received a larger proportion of donation after circulatory death (DCD) donors after AC than before AC, although the differences in the liver donor risk index were comparatively small. Thus, candidates with PELD/MELD scores 29 to 34 and no exceptions had better access to transplant after AC, and donor quality did not notably change beyond the proportion of DCD donors.
Copyright © 2021 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. This article has been contributed to by US Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.