October 1993

Practical Reduction of Transplantation CostsUse of Commercial Transportation Instead of Charter Aircraft for Sharing Pancreas Grafts

Author Affiliations

From the Colorado Organ Recovery Systems (Messrs Orlowski and Jaynes and Dr Specs), the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Department of Surgery, Division of Transplantation (Mr Orlowski), and Presbyterian/St Luke's Medical Center (Dr Specs), Denver, Colo.

Arch Surg. 1993;128(10):1111-1114. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1993.01420220031004

Objective:  To demonstrate cost savings in pancreas transplantation through use of commercial organ transportation.


Setting:  Independent Organ Procurement Organization, Denver, Colo.

Subjects:  Forty-three consecutive pancreas grafts recovered by Colorado transplantation surgeons and transported via charter aircraft (53.4%) or commercial airlines (46.6%) to transplantation centers outside Colorado.

Measurements:  Actuarial graft survival at 1 year was calculated. Transportation costs were also obtained.

Main Results:  Transportation of organs via charter aircraft cost an average of $3658.37 compared with an average of $102.40 for commercial airline transportation (average cost difference, $3555.97). Graft survival was 73.9% for chartered grafts vs 80.0% for commercially shipped grafts. Mean preservation times were 13 hours 54 minutes for chartered grafts vs 17 hours 50 minutes for commercial transportation.

Conclusion:  Our data demonstrated a significant cost savings when pancreas grafts were transported via commercial airlines instead of chartered aircraft. These cost savings were obtained without negative sequelae in clinical outcome, encouraging widespread use of commercial airlines for transporting shared pancreas grafts.(Arch Surg. 1993;128:1111-1114)