Publications & Reports

Cost-effectiveness of transplanting lungs and kidneys from donors with potential hepatitis C exposure or infection.

Scott N, Snell G, Westall G, Pilcher D, Raggatt M, Walker RG, Hellard M, Peleg AY, Doyle J
Disease Elimination Program, Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia.


Organ transplant guidelines in many settings recommend that people with potential hepatitis C virus (HCV) exposure or infection are deemed ineligible to donate. The recent availability of highly-effective treatments for HCV means that this may no longer be necessary. We used a mathematical model to estimate the expected difference in healthcare costs, difference in disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and cost-effectiveness of removing HCV restrictions for lung and kidney donations in Australia. Our model suggests that allowing organ donations from people who inject drugs, people with a history of incarceration and people who are HCV antibody-positive could lead to an estimated 10% increase in organ supply, population-level improvements in health (reduction in DALYs), and on average save AU$2,399 (95%CI AU$1,155-3,352) and AU$2,611 (95%CI AU$1,835-3,869) per person requiring a lung and kidney transplant respectively. These findings are likely to hold for international settings, since this policy change remained cost saving with positive health gains regardless of HCV prevalence, HCV treatment cost and waiting list survival probabilities. This study suggests that guidelines on organ donation should be revisited in light of recent changes to clinical outcomes for people with HCV.

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