Members of the Clinical Practice Committee, American Society of Transplantation, have attempted to define referral criteria for solid organ transplantation. Work done by the Clinical Practice Committee does not represent the official position of the American Society of Transplantation. Recipients for solid organ transplantation are growing in numbers, progressively outstripping the availability of organ donors. As there may be discrepancies in referral practice and, therefore, inequity may exist in terms of access to transplantation, there needs to be uniformity about who should be referred to transplant centers so the system is fair for all patients. A review of the literature that is both generic and organ specific has been conducted so referring physicians can understand the criteria that make the patient a suitable potential transplant candidate. The psychosocial milieu that needs to be addressed is part of the transplant evaluation. Early intervention and evaluation appear to play a positive role in maximizing quality of life for the transplant recipient. There is evidence, especially in nephrology, that the majority of patients with progressive failure are referred to transplant centers at a late stage of disease. Evidence-based medicine forms the basis for medical decision-making about accepting the patient as a transplant candidate. The exact criteria for each organ are detailed. These guidelines reflect consensus opinions, synthesized by the authors after extensive literature review and reflecting the experience at their major transplant centers. These guidelines can be distributed by transplant centers to referring physicians, to aid them in understanding who is potentially an acceptable candidate for transplantation. The more familiar physicians are with the exact criteria for specific organ transplantation, the more likely they are to refer patients at an appropriate stage. Individual transplant centers will make final decisions on acceptability for transplantation based on specific patient factors. It is hoped that this overview will assist insurers/payors in reimbursing transplant centers for solid organ transplantation, based on criteria for acceptability by the transplant community. The selection and management of patients with end-stage organ failure are constantly changing, and future advances may make obsolete some of the criteria mentioned in the guidelines. Most importantly, these are intended to be guidelines, not rules.
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