The Effect of Acuity Circles on Deceased Donor Transplant and Offer Rates Across Model for End-Stage Liver Disease Scores and Exception Statuses

Liver Transpl. 2022 Mar;28(3):363-375. doi: 10.1002/lt.26286. Epub 2021 Sep 25.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / surgery
  • Child
  • End Stage Liver Disease* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Liver Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*
  • Waiting Lists