Organ transplantations are among the most expensive surgical treatments performed today, but estimates of the costs of organ transplantations vary widely between settings. The aim of this study is to estimate the costs of renal, liver and heart transplantation in a university hospital, adopting a similar costing methodology for all the three kinds of transplantation. Resource use data were collected from 803 patients transplanted between January 1995 and August 2001. Data about the time physicians and other hospital employees spent per transplantation were based on interviews. All costs from pretransplantation screening up to 3 years post-transplantation were taken into account and divided into costs of patient care and programme-related costs. Mean cost of renal transplantation varied from € 70 723 for cadaveric donor transplantations to € 76 577 for living donor transplantations. Mean costs of liver transplantation were € 141 510 and the mean costs of heart transplantation were € 171 828. Direct costs of patient care contributed to 79%, 87% and 92% of the costs of renal, liver and heart transplantation respectively. Inpatient hospital days were the largest contributor to the costs of patient care. The mean number of inpatient hospital days from pretransplantation screening to 3 years post-transplantation varied from 46 days for renal transplantation from a living donor to 58 days for renal transplantation from cadaveric donors, 83 days for heart transplantation and 108 days for liver transplantation. In conclusion, costs of liver and heart transplantation were approximately 2.0 and 2.5 times higher than the cost of renal transplantation. Length of inpatient hospital stay for transplantation did not change substantially over time between 1995 and 2001.

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Transplant International
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Oostenbrink, J.B, Kok, E.T, & Verheul, R.M. (2005). A comparative study of resource use and costs of renal, liver and heart transplantation. Transplant International, 18(4), 437–443. doi:10.1111/j.1432-2277.2004.00063.x