Impact of increased time at the highest urgency category on heart transplant outcomes for candidates with ventricular assist devices

Monica Colvin, David Miranda-Herrera, Sally K. Gustafson, Brooke Heubner, Melissa Skeans, Xinyue Wang, Jon J. Snyder, Bertram L. Kasiske, Ajay K. Israni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background Ventricular assist devices (VADs) have improved survival among end-stage heart disease patients. Since 2002, heart transplant candidates with VADs have been afforded 30 days of elective time at the highest urgency category (Status 1A) under Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) policy. We aimed to determine the effect of increasing elective time at the highest urgency category for heart transplant candidates with VADs. This analysis was requested by OPTN during its evaluation of heart allocation policy. Methods We simulated several allocation schemes wherein elective Status 1A time was increased to 45, 60, and 90 days; results were compared with a baseline simulation of 30 days and with the actual observed heart transplant waiting list cohort. Results The simulations showed that increasing elective Status 1A time for candidates with VADs did not substantially change waiting list mortality overall or for sub-groups of concern, which were candidates with VADs listed at a lower-urgency category (Status 1B), those with with VAD complications, total artificial heart, or intraaortic balloon pump support; or those with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Across the different time allowances, the average post-transplant death rate remained stable. It also remained stable for recipients previously listed as Status 1A or 1B categories for VAD and for recipients with VAD complications or an intraaortic balloon pump at transplant, on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, and those without devices. Conclusions Our results suggest that increasing time in the highest urgency category for candidates with VADs would not improve waiting list mortality or post-transplant outcomes for heart transplant candidates overall.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-334
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was conducted under the auspices of the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, contractor for SRTR, as a deliverable under contract no. HHSH250201000018C (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Healthcare Systems Bureau, Division of Transplantation). As a U.S. Government-sponsored work, there are no restrictions on its use. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • OPTN
  • Status 1A
  • heart transplant candidate
  • urgency category
  • ventricular assist device
  • waiting list


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