Pediatric Liver Transplant Center Volume and the Likelihood of Transplantation
BACKGROUND: Low case volume has been associated with poorer surgical outcomes in a multitude of surgical procedures. We studied the association among low case volume, outcomes, and the likelihood of pediatric liver transplantation.
METHODS: We studied a cohort of 6628 candidates listed in the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network for primary pediatric liver transplantation between 2002 and 2012; 4532 of the candidates went on to transplantation. Candidates were divided into groups according to the average volume of yearly transplants performed in the listing center over 10 years: >15, 10 to 15, 5 to 9, and <5. We used univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses with bootstrapping on transplant recipient data and identified independent recipient and donor risk factors for wait-list and posttransplant mortality.
RESULTS: 38.5% of the candidates were listed in low-volume centers, those in which <5 transplants were performed annually. These candidates had severely reduced likelihood of transplantation with only 41% receiving a transplant. For the remaining candidates, listed at higher volume centers, the transplant rate was 85% (P < .001). Being listed at a low-volume center was a significant risk factor in multivariate Cox regression analysis for both wait-list mortality (hazard ratio, 3.27; confidence interval, 2.53–4.23) and posttransplant mortality (hazard ratio, 2.21; confidence interval, 1.43–3.40).
CONCLUSIONS: 38.5% of pediatric transplant candidates are listed in low-volume transplant centers and have lower likelihood of transplantation and poorer outcomes. If further studies substantiated these findings, we would advocate consolidating pediatric liver transplantation in higher volume centers.
- Accepted April 3, 2015.
- Copyright © 2015 by the American Academy of Pediatrics