NYMC Faculty Publications

The Effects of Acuity Circle Policy on Racial Disparity in Liver Transplantation

Author Type(s)

Resident/Fellow, Faculty

Journal Title


Document Type


Publication Date




Second Department



BACKGROUND: A new deceased donor liver allocation policy using an acuity circle-based model was implemented with the goal of providing equitable access to liver transplantation. We assessed the effect of the acuity circle policy on racial disparities in liver transplantation by analyzing waitlist mortality, transplant probability, and post-transplant outcomes. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 23,717 adult liver transplantation candidates listed during the pre-acuity circle period and 21,051 during the post-acuity circle period (N = 44,768) in the United Network for Organ Sharing database from February 2020 to December 2021. RESULTS: Acuity circle-policy implementation was not associated with any significant difference in 90-day waitlist mortality but increased the 90-day probability of all candidates. Implementation did not decrease 90-day waitlist mortality but increased the 90-day transplant probability for all patients. One-year patient and liver graft survival were comparable between the study periods for all recipients, but Black recipients had higher rates of 1-year post-liver transplantation mortality and liver graft failure in both periods. CONCLUSION: Although the implementation of the acuity circle policy is associated with an increase in transplant probability in White, Black, and Hispanic liver transplantation candidates, it did not change their waitlist mortality, nor did it lead to any improvement in the preexistent worse post-transplant outcomes in Black liver transplantation recipients.