The future direction of the adult heart allocation system in the United States

D. M. Meyer, J. G. Rogers, L. B. Edwards, E. R. Callahan, S. A. Webber, M. R. Johnson, J. D. Vega, M. J. Zucker, J. C. Cleveland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Ensuring equitable and fair organ allocation is a central charge of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) as the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) through its contract with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The OPTN/UNOS Board initiated a reassessment of the current allocation system. This paper describes the efforts of the OPTN/UNOS Heart Subcommittee, acting on behalf of the OPTN/UNOS Thoracic Organ Transplantation Committee, to modify the current allocation system. The Subcommittee assessed the limitations of the current three-tiered system, outcomes of patients with status exceptions, emerging ventricular assist device (VAD) population, options for improved geographic sharing and status of potentially disenfranchised groups. They analyzed waiting list and posttransplant mortality rates of a contemporary cohort of patient groups at risk, in collaboration with the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients to develop a proposed multi-tiered allocation scheme. This proposal provides a framework for simulation modeling to project whether candidates would have better waitlist survival in the revised allocation system, and whether posttransplant survival would remain stable. The tiers are subject to change, based on further analysis by the Heart Subcommittee and will lead to the development of a more effective and equitable heart allocation system. The Thoracic Committee of the United Network for Organ Sharing is proposing a revised, multi-tier heart allocation scheme in the United States that is designed to improve priority stratification based primarily upon contemporary waitlist mortality risk. Also see editorial by Barr and Taylor (page 7) and meeting report by Kobashigawa et al (page 55).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-54
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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