An updated estimate of posttransplant survival after implementation of the new donor heart allocation policy
Advocate Heart Institute, Advocate Christ Medical Center
The Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) implemented a new heart allocation policy on October 18, 2018. Published estimates of lower posttransplant survival under the new policy in cohorts with limited follow-up may be biased by informative censoring. Using the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients, we used the Kaplan-Meier method to estimate 1-year posttransplant survival for pre-policy (November 1, 2016, to October 31, 2017) and post-policy cohorts (November 1, 2018, to October 31, 2019) with follow-up through March 2, 2021. We adjusted for changes in recipient population over time with a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model. To demonstrate the effect of inadequate follow-up on post-policy survival estimates, we repeated the analysis but only included follow-up through October 31, 2019. Transplant programs transplanted 2594 patients in the pre-policy cohort and 2761 patients in the post-policy cohort. With follow-up through March 2, 2021, unadjusted 1-year posttransplant survival was 90.6% (89.5%-91.8%) in the pre-policy cohort and 90.8% (89.7%-91.9%) in the post-policy cohort (adjusted HR = 0.93 [0.77-1.12]). Ignoring follow-up after October 31, 2019, the post-policy estimate was biased downward (1-year: 82.2%). When estimated with adequate follow-up, 1-year posttransplant survival under the new heart allocation policy was not significantly different.