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Am J Surg. 2004 Nov;188(5):580-3.

Child-Turcotte-Pugh versus MELD score as a predictor of outcome after elective and emergent surgery in cirrhotic patients.

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  • 1Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Surgical Service (112), 2002 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA.



Cirrhotic patients who present for elective and emergent surgery pose a formidable challenge for the surgeon because of the high reported morbidity and mortality. The Child-Turcotte-Pugh (CTP) score previously has been used to evaluate preoperative severity of liver dysfunction and to predict postoperative outcome. Recently, a more objective scoring classification, the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD), has been shown to predict accurately the 3-month mortality for cirrhotic patients awaiting transplantation. We sought to compare the CTP and MELD scores in predicting outcomes in cirrhotic patients undergoing surgical procedures requiring general anesthesia.


During the study period, 40 patients with a history of cirrhosis who required elective (E) or emergent (EM) surgical procedures under general anesthesia were reviewed (E = 24, EM = 16). The preoperative CTP and MELD scores were calculated and patient short- (30-day) and long-term (3-month) outcomes were recorded.


There was a significant difference in the 1-month and 3-month mortality rates between the emergent and elective groups (EM group: 1 mo = 19%, 3 mo = 44%; E group: 1 mo = 17%, 3 mo = 21%, P <0.05). There was good correlation between the CP and MELD scores, which was greater in the emergent groups as compared with the elective group (EM: r = 0.81; E: r = 0.65).


Our study shows that cirrhotic patients who undergo surgery under general anesthesia have an extremely high 1- and 3-month mortality rate that progressively increases with severity of preoperative liver dysfunction. Additionally, the MELD score correlates well with the CTP score, providing a more objective predictor of postoperative mortality in cirrhotic patients undergoing surgery.

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