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Transplant Proc. 2012 Jun;44(5):1303-6. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2012.01.115.

Should a lower quality organ go to the least sick patient? Model for end-stage liver disease score and donor risk index as predictors of early allograft dysfunction.

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Multi-Organ Transplant Program, London Health Sciences Centre, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.



There is a global tendency to justify transplanting extended criteria organs (ECD; Donor Risk Index [DRI] ≥ 1.7) into recipients with a lower Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score and to transplant standard criteria organs (DRI < 1.7) into recipients with a higher MELD scores. There is a lack of evidence in the current literature to justify this assumption.


A review of our prospectively entered database for donation after brain death (DBD) liver transplantation (n = 310) between January 1, 2006, and September 30, 2010, was performed. DRI was dichotomized as <1.7 and ≥ 1.7. Recipients were divided into 3 strata, those with high (≥ 27), moderate (15-26), and low MELD (<15) scores. The recently validated definition of early allograft dysfunction (EAD) was used. We analyzed EAD and its relation with donor DRI and recipient MELD scores.


The overall incidence of EAD was 24.5%. Mortality in the first 6 months in recipients with EAD was 20% compared with 3.4% for those without EAD (relative risk [RR], 5.56, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.96-15.73; P < .001). Graft failure rate in the first 6 months in those with EAD was 27% compared with 5.8% for those without EAD (RR, 4.63; 95% CI, 2.02-10.6; P < .001). In patients with low MELD scores, a significantly increased rate of EAD (25%) was seen in patients transplanted with a high DRI liver compared with those transplanted with a low DRI liver (6.25%; P = .012). In moderate and high MELD recipients, there was no significant difference in the rate of EAD in patients transplanted with a high DRI liver (62%) compared with those transplanted with a low DRI liver (59%).


These results suggest that contrary to common belief it is not justified to preferentially allocate organs with higher DRI to recipients with lower MELD scores.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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