Background. The development of cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection after kidney transplant remains a significant cause of posttransplant morbidity, graft loss, and mortality. Despite appropriate antiviral therapy, recipients without previous CMV exposure can currently be allocated a kidney from a donor with previous CMV infection (D+R-) that carries the greatest risk of posttransplant CMV infection and associated complications. Preferential placement of CMV D- organs in negative recipients (R-) has been shown to reduce the risk of viral infection and associated complications. Methods. To assess the long-term survival and economic benefits of allocation policy reforms, a decision-analytic model was constructed to compare receipt of CMV D- with CMV D+ organ in CMV R- recipients using data from transplant registry, Medicare claims, and pharmaceutical costs. Results. For CMV R- patients, receipt of a CMV D- organ was associated with greater average survival (14.3 versus 12.6 y), superior quality-adjusted life years (12.6 versus 9.8), and lower costs ($529 512 versus $542 963). One-way sensitivity analysis demonstrated a survival advantage for patients waiting as long as 30 mo for a CMV D- kidney. Conclusions. Altering national allocation policy to preferentially offer CMV D- organs to CMV R- recipients could improve survival and lower costs after transplant if appropriately implemented.
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