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Int J Organ Transplant Med. 2012;3(3):105-10.

Liver Transplantation in Patients with Portal Vein Thrombosis: Comparing Pre-MELD and MELD era.

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Division of Organ Transplantation, Department of Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA.



Portal vein thrombosis (PVT) used to be a relative contraindication for liver transplantation (LT). This obstacle has been dealt with following the improvement of LT-related techniques.


To compare the outcome of adult patients with PVT who underwent LT before and after adopting MELD.


We retrospectively searched our database for deceased donor LT recipients who had PVT, were operated between 1990 and 2009, and were 18 years old or more. The outcome of patients operated in pre-MELD era (1990-2001) was then compared with that of those operated in MELD era (2002-2009).


The incidence of patients undergoing LT with PVT has increased from 1.2% (491/40,730) in pre-MELD era to 6% (2540/42,601) in MELD era (p<0.01). Patients with PVT in MELD era were older (53.6 vs 50.5), had higher calculated MELD (21.3 vs 18.9), shorter length of hospital stay after LT (25 vs 21.7 days), more likely to develop HCC (14.8% vs 0), and more likely to receive DCD allograft (3.9% vs 0.8%). Donor risk indices were comparable in both groups (1.9 vs 1.9). The median waiting time before transplantation decreased during MELD era (71 vs 99 days). Allograft and patients survival was comparable between the two eras. However, allograft and patients survival rates were lower in patients with PVT compared to those without. In Cox regression analysis, PVT was associated with worse allograft (HR=1.3, 95% CI: 1.2-1.4, p<0.001) and patient survival (HR=1.3, 95% CI: 1.2-1.5, p<0.001) compared to non-PVT patients.


The incidence of patients with PVT has increased in MELD era without improvement in outcomes. Donor and recipients characteristics changed in MELD era. PVT is still associated with poor outcomes compared to patients without PVT.


Liver transplantation; MELD; Portal vein thrombosis; Prognosis


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