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Transpl Int. 2009 Oct;22(10):970-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2009.00915.x. Epub 2009 Jul 10.

The introduction of MELD-based organ allocation impacts 3-month survival after liver transplantation by influencing pretransplant patient characteristics.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.


Introduction of the model of end-stage liver disease (MELD) for organ allocation has changed the waiting-list management. Despite reports of unaffected survival after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in the MELD era, survival rates have decreased in our center. The aim of this study was to identify factors contributing to reduced survival. Three-month survival, recipient and graft parameters of all 323 OLT between 2004 and 2008, which fall into a pre- (N = 220) and a post-MELD (n = 103) era, were analysed by Kaplan-Meier-, Mann-Whitney- and Fisher tests. After the introduction of MELD, mean scores at OLT increased (14.8 vs. 18.6, P = 0.002). The main indications for OLT were not statistically different between eras. Post-MELD recipients were older (47.9 vs. 50.9 years, P = 0.025), donors younger (NS), cold ischemia time shorter (696 vs. 635 min., P = 0.001), and duration of surgery longer (218 vs. 245 min., P = 0.001). Procedure time significantly correlated with MELD and international normalized ratio (INR). Three-month survival dropped (from 88.6% to 79.6%, P = 0.03). Independent variables of survival were creatinine, urea and duration of surgery. Reduced 3-month survival was associated with longer surgery duration, higher creatinine and urea likely reflecting higher recipient morbidity. Survival probability should be incorporated into MELD-based graft allocation.

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