A comparative study of resource use and costs of renal, liver and heart transplantation

Jan B Oostenbrink, Esther T Kok, Renate M Verheul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Organ transplantations are among the most expensive surgical treatments performed today, but estimates of the costs of organ transplantations vary widely between settings. The aim of this study is to estimate the costs of renal, liver and heart transplantation in a university hospital, adopting a similar costing methodology for all the three kinds of transplantation. Resource use data were collected from 803 patients transplanted between January 1995 and August 2001. Data about the time physicians and other hospital employees spent per transplantation were based on interviews. All costs from pretransplantation screening up to 3 years post-transplantation were taken into account and divided into costs of patient care and programme-related costs. Mean cost of renal transplantation varied from 70,723 Euros for cadaveric donor transplantations to 76,577 Euros for living donor transplantations. Mean costs of liver transplantation were 141,510 Euros and the mean costs of heart transplantation were 17, 828 Euros. Direct costs of patient care contributed to 79%, 87% and 92% of the costs of renal, liver and heart transplantation respectively. Inpatient hospital days were the largest contributor to the costs of patient care. The mean number of inpatient hospital days from pretransplantation screening to 3 years post-transplantation varied from 46 days for renal transplantation from a living donor to 58 days for renal transplantation from cadaveric donors, 83 days for heart transplantation and 108 days for liver transplantation. In conclusion, costs of liver and heart transplantation were approximately 2.0 and 2.5 times higher than the cost of renal transplantation. Length of inpatient hospital stay for transplantation did not change substantially over time between 1995 and 2001.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-43
Number of pages7
JournalTransplant International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Resources
  • Heart Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Length of Stay
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Living Donors
  • Netherlands


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