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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 2329-0358

The cost of graft failure and other severe complications after liver transplantation – experience from a German Transplant Center

Johan Friso Lock, Thomas Reinhold, Andy Bloch, Maciej Malinowski, Sven-Christian Schmidt, Peter Neuhaus, Martin Stockmann

Ann Transplant 2010; 15(3): 11-18

ID: 881171

Available online:

Published: 2010-09-28


Background:    Orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) is a cost consuming therapy for only a relatively small number of patients. The aim of the present study was to explore specific cost drivers in a German transplant centre.
    Material/Methods:    The analysis was done by combination of two separate databases with prospective clinical and case-related cost data. Several complications were compared for their impact on length of stay and on costs by uni- and multivariate analysis.
    Results:    The median cost of OLT was 30,120 Euro (range 18,330–397,450; mean 52,570), the median reimbursement was 33,227 Euro (range 30,879–344,142; mean 59,628) with a significant in-between correlation of r=0.951 (P<0.0001). Post-transplant complications significantly raised cost, with an increase of 62% by vascular complications, 175% by renal failure, 207% by biliary leakage, 227% by graft failure and 234% by sepsis. Multivariate analysis revealed reoperation, hypotension and graft failure as independent cost factors. Graft failure contributed for mean additional costs of 105,911 Euro (95%CI 75,695 to 136,126). In particular, the cost of ICU therapy increased from 16,884 Euro up to 92,239 Euro (P<0.0001).
    Conclusions:    Cost and reimbursement of OLT are relatively moderate in Germany. Graft failure was identified as the major cost-determining factor. The cost impact of post-transplant complications is mainly caused by the length of stay.

Keywords: Postoperative Complications - economics, Liver Transplantation, cost analysis