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J Surg Res. 2013 Aug;183(2):936-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2013.03.008. Epub 2013 Mar 26.

Liver transplantation in acute-on-chronic liver failure patients with high model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) scores: a single center experience of 100 consecutive cases.

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  • 1Department of Hepatobiliary Surgery and You-An Liver Transplant Center, Beijing You-An Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.



Acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) is a severe clinical condition for which liver transplantation (LT) is the only curative option. However, there are little published data on risk factors and outcomes of LT for ACLF.


The objective of this study was to analyze preoperative, intraoperative, postoperative, and overall survival data on 100 consecutive cases with ACLF in order to try to determine for which patients LT are futile.


One hundred consecutive patients with pathology-confirmed ACLF who underwent LT from June 2004 to September 2012 were enrolled. The preoperative data showed that all patients were in a serious condition with a median high model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score of 32, total bilirubin of 440.20 umol/L, international normalized ratio (INR) of 3.012, and at least one organ dysfunction as assessed by a Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score of ≥9. The patients had either deceased or a living donor LT with an overall mortality of 20%. The 1-, 3-, and 5-year cumulative survival rates were 76.8%, 75.6%, and 74.1%, respectively, and graft 1-, 3-, and 5-y accumulative survival rates were 73.3%, 72.1%, and 70.6%, respectively. However, the area under receiver operating characteristic of SOFA score, MELD score, as well as Child-Pugh score were 0.552, 0.547, and 0.547, respectively.


Both deceased and living donor LT are effective therapeutic options for patients with ACLF and the short- and long-term survival rates are encouraging. It is important to conduct more prospective and multi-center studies to define preoperatively which patients would benefit from LT.


Acute-on-chronic liver failure; Liver transplantation; Model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score

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