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Z Gastroenterol. 2011 Jan;49(1):30-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1245946. Epub 2011 Jan 10.

[Current developments in liver transplantation in Germany: MELD-based organ allocation and incentives for transplant centres].

[Article in German]

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Klinik und Poliklinik f├╝r Chirurgie, Universit├Ątsklinikum Regensburg.


Liver transplantation represents a successful and well-established therapeutic concept for patients with advanced liver diseases. Organ donor shortage continues to pose a significant problem. To ensure fair and transparent allocation of too few post-mortem grafts, the model of end-stage liver disease (MELD)-based allocation was implemented in December 2006. This has decreased waiting list mortality from 20 to 10 % but at the same time has reduced post OLT survival (1-year survival from almost 90% to below 80%), which is largely due to patients with a labMELD score > 30. Following MELD introduction the regular allocation threshold has increased from a matchMELD of initially 25 to meanwhile 34. At the same time the quality of donor organs has seen a continuous deterioration over the last 10 - 15 years: 63% of organs are "suboptimal" with a donor risk index of > 1.5. Moreover, the numbers of living-related liver transplantations have decreased. In Germany incentives for transplant centres are inappropriate: patients with decompensated cirrhosis, high MELD scores and high post-transplant mortality as well as marginal liver grafts are accepted for transplantation without the necessary consideration of outcomes, and against a background of the still absent publication and transparency of outcome results. The outlined development calls for measures for improvement: (i) the increase of donor grafts (e. g., living donation, opt-out solutions, non-heart beating donors), (ii) the elimination of inappropriate incentives for transplant centres, (iii) changes of allocation guidelines, that take the current situation and suboptimal donor grafts into account, and (iv) the systematic and complete collection of transplant-related data in order to allow for the development of improved prognostic scores.

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