Assessing the benefits of transplant services

Baillieres Clin Gastroenterol. 1994 Sep;8(3):411-23. doi: 10.1016/0950-3528(94)90028-0.


This chapter presents some methods for the assessment of transplant benefits, using the example of liver transplantation. An independent assessment of the benefits of medical technology is especially important for evaluation of the balance between the costs and benefits involved. To enable comparison with other health-care facilities, benefits are defined in terms of a combination of life-years gained and quality of life. The number of life-years gained can be calculated by comparing the survival expected with and without transplantation. Survival with transplantation is estimated on the basis of observed survival, acknowledging that the probability of survival may have changed over time, owing to changes in therapy and selection criteria. To estimate survival without transplantation, several techniques are available. Prognostic models, correcting for stage of disease, are often used. Pitfalls in the use of these models are discussed. The number of life-years gained can be corrected for quality of life by weighing survival with and without transplantation with an index representing quality of life. A method for the calculation of such an index is given. Finally, some cost estimates are presented and the results are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Humans
  • Liver Transplantation* / economics
  • Liver Transplantation* / mortality
  • Netherlands
  • Quality of Life
  • Survival Analysis
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical*