• Cost benefits;
  • delayed graft function;
  • expanded criteria donors;
  • kidney transplantation;
  • Medicare;
  • pulsatile machine perfusion

Pulsatile machine perfusion (PMP) has been shown to reduce delayed graft function (DGF) in expanded criteria donor (ECD) kidneys. Here, we investigate whether there is a cost benefit associated with PMP utilization in ECD kidney transplants. We analyzed United States Renal Data System (USRDS) data describing Medicare-insured ECD kidney transplant recipients in 1995–2004 (N = 5840). We examined total Medicare payments for transplant hospitalization and annually for 3 years posttransplant according to PMP utilization. After adjusting for other recipient, donor and transplant factors, PMP utilization was associated with a $2130 reduction (p = 0.007) in hospitalization costs. PMP utilization was also associated with lower DGF risk (p < 0.0001). PMP utilization did not predict differences in rejection, graft survival, patient survival, or costs at 1, 2 and 3 years posttransplant. PMP utilization is correlated with lower costs for the transplant hospitalization, which is likely due to the associated reduction in DGF among recipients of PMP kidneys. However, there is no difference in long-term Medicare costs for ECD recipients by PMP utilization. A prospective trial is necessary as it will help determine if the associations seen here are due to PMP utilization and not differences in the population studied.