Objective: Intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) support may improve the hemodynamic profiles of patients in cardiogenic shock and bridge patients to heart transplant. In 2018, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) introduced new heart allocation criteria that increased the waitlist status of patients with IABPs to Status 2. This study assesses the impact of this change on IABP use and outcomes of patients with IABPs. Methods: We queried the UNOS database for first adult heart transplant candidates with IABPs listed or transplanted before and after the UNOS policy changes (October 18, 2016–October 17, 2018, or October 18, 2018–September 4, 2020). We compared post-transplant survival and waitlist outcomes using Kaplan-Meier and Fine-Gray analyses. Results: Two thousand three hundred fifty-eight patients met inclusion criteria. Utilization of IABPs for hemodynamic support increased by 338% in the two years after the policy change. Patients with IABPs listed after the policy change were more likely to receive a transplant and were transplanted more quickly (p <.001). Posttransplant survival was comparable before and after the policy change (p =.056), but non-transplanted patients were more likely to be delisted post-policy change (p <.001). Conclusion: The UNOS allocation criteria have benefited patients bridged with an IABP, given the higher transplant rate and shorter time to transplant.
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