The incremental cost of Incompatible Living Donor Kidney Transplant: A National Cohort Analysis

David Axelrod, Krista L Lentine, Mark A Schnitzler, Xun Luo, Huiling Xiao, Babak J Orandi, Allan Massie, Jacqueline Garonzik-Wang, Mark D. Stegall, Stanley C Jordan, Jose Oberholzer, Ty B Dunn, Lloyd E Ratner, Sandip Kapur, Ronald P Pelletier, John P Roberts, Marc L Melcher, Pooja Singh, Debra L Sudan, Marc P PosnerJose M El-Amm, Ron Shapiro, Matthew Cooper, George S Lipkowitz, Michael A Rees, Christopher L Marsh, Bashir R Sankari, David A Gerber, Paul W Nelson, Jason Wellen, Adel Bozorgzadeh, A Osama Gaber, Robert A Montgomery, Dorry L Segev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Incompatible living donor kidney transplant (ILDKT) has been established as an effective option for end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients with willing but HLA incompatible live donors, reducing mortality and improving quality of life. Depending upon antibody titer, ILDKT can require highly resource intensive procedure including intravenous immunoglobulin, plasma exchange and/or cell depleting antibody treatment as well as protocol biopsies and DSA testing. This study sought to compare the cost and Medicare reimbursement, exclusive of organ acquisition payment, for ILDKT recipients (N=926) with varying antibody titers to matched compatible transplants (N=2762) performed between 2002-2011. Data were assembled from a national cohort study of ILDKT and a unique dataset linking hospital cost accounting data, and Medicare claims. Overall, ILDKT transplants were 41% more expensive than their compatible counterparts ($151,024 vs. $106,636, p<.0001). The incremental cost varied by antibody titers: positive on Luminex assay but negative flow cytometric crossmatch 20% increase, positive flow cytometric crossmatch but negative cytotoxic crossmatch 26% increase, and positive cytotoxic crossmatch 39% increase (p<.0001 for all). ILDKT was associated with higher Medicare payments ($91,330 vs. $63,782 p<.0001), longer median length of stay (12.9 vs. 7.8 days), and greater outlier payments. In conclusion, ILDKT increases the cost of and payments for kidney transplant. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
StateE-pub ahead of print - Jun 14 2017


  • Journal Article


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